Since the 2004 festival was filled with personal sadness, I made sure that 2005 would be all about having fun. I saw great films that featured topics such as a man trying to escape his past, a woman seeking revenge, an Irish drag queen and a lobbyist who thanked people of smoking. In regards to that last one, it was a treat discovering a then unknown director by the name of Jason Reitman. Not only was his first feature, Thank You For Smoking, a homecoming of sorts for the Canadian director; but it also the start of a rather exceptional career for the young director. Reitman’s next two films, Juno and Up in the Air, both premiered at TIFF and went on to earn Academy Award nominations.
Total Number of Films Watched: 28
My Top 5:
A History of Violence
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
The Squid and the Whale
Thank You for Smoking
Breakfast on Pluto
Honourable Mention: Capote, Dear Wendy, District 13, Lie With Me, The Matador, Runaway.
The Disappointments: Manderlay, Neverwas, Harsh Times, River Queen, Thumbsucker, The Duelist, Winter Passing.
The Whale Riders (aka. I regret passing on these films): Caché, Brokeback Mountain, Polanski’s Oliver Twist, Tsotsi, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, C.R.A.Z.Y, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Proposition, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
Memorable Moment: Standing in the Rush Line (i.e. the last minute tickets line) for the film Beowulf and Grendel which feature Gerard Butler and Sarah Polley. While waiting in the pouring rain I had to endure the ranting and ravings of eight women who were all part of the official Gerard Butler fan club. Many of the women had driven well over six hours just to get a chance to see Mr. Butler. One woman even had a homemade oriental fan with Butler’s face on both sides. The funny thing about this was that it was the year before 300 was released and he became an international star. Up to that point, his biggest films included the Tomb Raider sequel and Dear Frankie.
Random Star Sightings: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Aaron Eckhart, Gerard Butler, Catherine Keener, Keanu Reeves, Twilda Swinton, Cillian Murphy, Sarah Polley, Maria Bello, Laura Linney,Jeff Daniels, Eva Longoria, Noah Baumbach, Aaron Stanford, Robin Tunney, Alan Cumming, Atom Egoyan, Clement Virgo, Clifton Collins Jr., Thomas Vinterberg,