Man, was it hard this year.
I really hope this residual lack of enthusiasm on my part dissipates soon. Waking up this morning (hell, yesterday for that matter) I felt some of the old TIFF giddiness, that sense that Program Book Day is like my Christmas and Birthday wrapped up in one, that the Highlight Of My Fall was fast approaching and the textbook-sized book that seems to retain that fresh ink smell through years of sitting on my bookshelf (except for last year’s, which still has the faint aroma of paint as it spent enough time in The Tent at Nathan Philips Square) was just waiting for my annual excited lunchtime pilgrimage and “oh, is that my phone?” afternoon perusal. Note to the organizers: when the Bell Lightbox is fully open and serving as TIFF HQ, will we once again have more than one year in a row where the box office is at the same location? Anyway, 12 noon hit and I was racing down King St. to the corner of Peter, already seeing the crowds perched on planters filling out their ticket forms. I turned over my tickets and was handed the Program Book and form. No swag bag this year? September 2nd apparently. Hmm. And tradition takes another whack in the nads.
Anyway, the afternoon passed as it does every year, scanning the book, highlighting potential titles in the index and cross-referencing with the schedule. I have to say, there are a few Absolute Can’t Miss titles this year. I already mentioned The Trip, which has its first screening the evening of my birthday. Womb stars both Eva Green and Matt Smith and seems like a creepy, vaguely science fiction experience but with that cast I’d be all over it no matter the genre. Submarine: set in Wales and starring Sally Hawkins and Patty Considine? Sold. Observations...no Dialogues this year? Shame. Bruce freaking Springsteen is a Maverick guest? Y’know, tempting, but I know that’ll be the hot ticket of the fest, no sense getting excited about it. So I won’t see any up-close-and-personals this year. Oh well. There are actually a few Midnight Madness titles I’m into this year, Colin Geddes really turned it around after last year’s sequel- and Megan Fox-heavy program. It’s also cool to see directors like Mark Hartley and Takashi Miike in the supposedly more reputable programs after tenures in MM.
Then comee the evening, and my usual joyous playing with spreadsheets to plot out a schedule. I’m only taking three days off this year rather than six, but with the TIFF going to eleven days for 2010 I figured I would still have a sked with plenty of gaps. I’ve got my book of ten and I’ll try and pick up two or three more once the individual tix go on sale. And then the gambling comes in. I’m thinking I will probably be able to score a ticket for a later screening of Machete Maidens Unleashed! so I shouldn’t waste a draw choice on that one, right? And I run into a fairly big hurdle...I can’t make what I want to see fit! I’ve got all these days with two movies eight hours apart, or there’s an evening with four movies all at once I want to check out and I can’t decide which one is least likely to play the Varsity in October. Worst of all, on one of the days I’m taking as vacation, I’ve got one screening, in the evening! I might as well go to the office and bank my holidays.
Crap. Oh well. I’ve pounded out a top ten picks and ten backups. Here we go, top ten picks:
Vanishing on 7th Street
And my 2nd choices:
Machete Maidens Unleashed!
The Big Picture
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
22nd of May
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Some of my backups really should have been among my main picks. If I don’t get into Dhobi Ghat that’ll be the umpteenth year I haven’t caught an Indian movie. And Herzog in 3-D? Meh, who knows, two years ago I wound up with opening night of It Might Get Loud as a fallback pick, so I could well be surprised. So of my main ten...one Canadian film, only one (!) with subtitles, two MM, no documentaries, and a Mike Leigh film which I know will play in the fall but part of my resolution list for this year is to catch at least one high-profile big-name director and I am a huge Leigh fan so if he shows for a Q&A and Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent join him onstage I’ll have had a great night.
Cross your fingers for a fortuitous bin number, and away we go.