Yesterday represented one of my favorite days of the year – the day I get to pick up my pre order package from TIFF and select the 20 films I will be seeing at this year’s festival (this number will most likely increase to at least 22, perhaps as many as 25). This looks like a good year at TIFF, but I had several disappointments.
The first disappointment is that they seem to have pretty much done away with 9:00 am screenings. I liked starting my day early, and ending around 9:00pm, but it looks like this year, things will start around 11 each morning, and end around 11 at night. It means I will get home later – but also that I don’t have to get up so early.
Another is that the festival seems oddly frontloaded this year. It has always been such, with most of the major films wanting to get in the first half of the festival, but this year it seems even worse. So unfortunately films like Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu’s Bituful, Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, Palme D’Or Winner Uncle Boonme Who Can See His Past Lives, Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, the 3-D documentary by Werner Herzog (whose name escapes me right now) among others will almost definitely have to wait until they get released.
Having said that, I did request tickets to a lot of hopefully great movies. If I get all of my number 1 choices (which I won’t, but I am hopeful) the 20 films I selected are: Trust (David Schimmer), Film Socialism (Jean Luc Godard), Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek), Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky), 127 Hours (Danny Boyle), Rabbit Hole (John Cameron Mitchell), What’s Wrong with Virginia (Dustin Lance Black), Poetry (Lee Chang Dong), Another Year (Mike Leigh), Incendies (Dennis Villeneuve), Let Me In (Matt Reeves), The Sleeping Beauty (Catherine Breillent), Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt), The Debt (John Madden), Amigo (John Sayles), Blue Valentine (John Clanfrance), In a Better World (Susanne Bier), Three (Tom Tykwer), It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Ryan Fleck & Anne Boden), Casino Jack (George Hickenlooper) and Aftershock (Xiaogang). Among my second choices are Miral (Julien Schnabel, which if it hadn’t had to go against Black Swan would have easily been a number 1 choice), The Trip (Michael Winterbottom), Tamara Drewe (Stephen Frears), Essential Killing (Jerzy Skolminski) and Brighton Rock (Roland Joffe) – the rest of the number 2 choices were smaller film by lesser known directors that I picked because they sounded interesting).
I like this list. It isn’t as strong as some lists have been in the past (and for the first time in three years, it does not include a Coen Brothers movie). I will find out for sure what I am seeing next week – and when I do, I will make the list official. I am not sure if I’ll do my daily updates like last year (it was rather exhausting to write them after getting home that late), or if I’ll just do one big wrap up piece when it’s all over. What I do know is that TIFF is usually by favorite week of the year (although last year it trailed behind my honeymoon, and it will have to pretty great this year to top my time in NYC). Anyway, since this is a slow week on the blog, I thought I’d share.