An Eerie, Exciting Journey to the Toronto International Film Festival


“Would you like to go to the orchestra?” Whispered a voice from the dark.

i was here Toronto International Film Festival And, a few moments ago, I had just realized that I was the only one to celebrate in the very spacious, very empty balcony. In normal years, this 2,000-seat theatre, a festival mainstay, is filled with enthusiastically buzzing attendees. But 2019 is as normal as the crowd. I was feeling very lonely there with other people, so I said Sure! And ran down to the orchestra, settling in amongst the other attendees who, perhaps like me, were trying to pretend a sense of solidarity — at a Covid-safe distance, of course.

One of the biggest film events in the world, the Toronto Festival celebrated its 46th anniversary this year and, more disappointingly, its second year at a show during the pandemic. On many levels, it was a success: although fell short of its preplay era, the festival, which ended on Saturday, presented nearly 200 films from around the world, both individually and digitally. There were premieres, panels and lots of masked “Have a nice day!” from employees. Benedict Cumberbatch – star of Jane Campion “Dog Power” and Will Sharp’sThe Electrical Life of Louis Wayne“- Popped in via satellite for chat.

It was very similar yet profoundly different. More than anything, as I attended movies in the festival’s horrifyingly congested theaters—sitting in rooms that, according to Canadian safety regulations, couldn’t exceed 50 percent capacity—I was reminded That a film festival isn’t just a series of back-to-back new movies. It is also people, fused together, and usually jammed together as one under the cinematic groove. There’s always vulgarity, of course, red-carpet posing, Oscar-race bustle, and I’ve seen a lot of profane monstrosities in Toronto, Sundance, et al. But even when movies disappoint, I’m always happy at a festival, watching movies with people as happy as I am.



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