Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TIFFing

Since it is that time of year here in Toronto where celebrities invade I decided to check out a couple of the offerings... Yesterday it was "Precious" - rush line of course - for the Winter Garden theatre. Part of the joy of filmfest is of course chatting with people in line and discovering what they have seen and of course recommend. The line was at the corner of Queen and Yonge and fortunately in the shade....if I had been paying attention there were a couple of individuals who came up and offered to sell their tickets, or in one case give away (which is always what one hopes). Even though when we finally got in seating was fairly high up, the view was still good. The filmmaker Lee Daniels was on hand and was obviously overwhelmed by the support of audiences...especially those of us "lily white faces"....:) That's why I love Toronto and I'm sure the industry does too - doesn't matter if you're green, pink or blue....good storytelling reaches everyone. And what a story! By the time the credits rolled I think everyone had been put through the wringer. Pregnant (again) teen Clarisse "Precious" Jones lives with her nightmare of a mother, in a bleak, dark apartment in Harlem - subjected to daily physical, emotional and sexual abuse - will she grab the brass ring of alternative schooling at Each One, Teach One, and get to live out the fantasies she has in her active imagination? Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe is a revelation - with no prior acting experience except a junior high play. MO'nique, known for her comedy, is a knockout here as her monster mom - they're already talking Oscar....Great supporting cast including Lenny Kravitz and yes, Mariah Carey -deglammed and believable as a caring social worker. Chyna Lane, her Jamaican classmate was a hoot and had many of Jamaican background in the audience in stitches. Paula Patton is wonderful as her teacher Ms. Rain. Today was France's "Les Herbes Folles" which I believe translates into The Wild Grasses. It starts out really well as a mystery - a wallet is stolen, found and turned in - the knight in shining armour has more than a casual interest in the wallet's owner and complications ensue. I wish the teasing and tantalizing had been kept out somewhat longer because once the potential amours connect, things start to falter. Good performances and the ending is just bizarre. C'est la vie.
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