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Friday, September 08, 2006

Day 2 - Friday Sept 09 - Are you going to be OK ?

The operative word of the day was “Are you going to be OK?”

The highlight of the 06 Festival here was the Day 2 slate of Australian films: Cate Shortland’s The Silence, Murali Thalluri’s 2:37, and Neil Armfield’s Candy. For starters it was off to an eery Paramount at 9 in the morning. Stripped of its evening neon lights glowing and the big blasting music, the Paramount is like a hungry cage ready waiting for the filmgoers. The vendor stands remain shut except for the evergrowing coffee queue.

9:15 A.M.

Getting up an ungodly hour to see a movie at another ungodly hour is not the best ticket to see Takashi Miike’s new Big Bang Love, Juvenile A. Diehard fans of the director of past works such as Ichi the Killer or Audition amongst his 70 or so films were there though for his latest. Presented as a North American premiere, it is a series of experimental theatrical vignettes is started with the question: What kind of man do you want to be? The movie traces two murderers who enter the prison on the same day. Is it a coincidence?

Shots of rockets in flight, and triple rainbows underline the big question: In death does life go on?

12:15 pm

Director Kim Ki-duk is a master of vision and riveting stories. Two years ago 04 TIFF presented his sublime Spring Summer Fall Winter ... and Spring.

In Time, his latest movie, the sexual reclivist statuary of Architecture Park by the water is a stylish backdrop for this tale of two lovers in Korea. Vanity, thy name is woman. Yet the woman - the key character in Time - is not unattractive and not past her prime - her boyfriend of two years is in love with her - but in the coffeeshop she cannot help but notice his look askance at a younger girl which sets off an embarrassing tirade from her that is out of control. That night he is too tired to make love to her but she encourages him to think of the young girl as she continues. It is in the fluid nature of time that one grows older and it is in this woman's nature the pangs of jealousy are set in stone. To revitalize her life she undertakes the drastic step of plastic surgery to change her face over the objections of the surgeon who becomes a key player in Time. She vanishes from sight and her boyfriend's search and melancholy for her has film noir overtones. She reappears again six months later with her altered face in the coffeeshop taking a job as a waitress. He still visits the place and as this changed woman she begins to flirt with him, not revealing her "true" self. But he still cannot forget the past and old photographs of her previous self and her boyfriend at the park sitting in the Hands by the water still sit in picture frames. Paradoxically once again she is feeling jealousy for what was. The revelation at the ending has time coming full circle and a sadness sets in.

2:30 pm

The key question of 2:37 is "Are you going to be ok?"

This enthusiastically standing ovation received movie at 06 TIFF [ and at Cannes ] is a remarkable first time effort by a 19 year old director Murali K. Thalluri - himself just fresh out of high school - looking back at a close departed friend who inspired this movie. At 2:37 a suicide occurs at the Adelaide high school. Who it is is not revealed - but in a combination of the events starting from the beginning of the day along with the close personal documentary style with individual students talking to the fateful moment. There are the cliques, the popular girls, the jock, the stoner, the picked upon outsider. This is not the Breakfast Club. Their stories intermesh and interweave as the camera follows their lives from their points of view. There is no clock towards the final minutes but it is quite the jolt when it becomes clear who the movie is about and the ominous beats of the music spell the last moments.

No one less than Gus Van Sant was thanked in the credits while there may be comparisons but obvious differences to Elephant, Van Sant did encourage and praise 2:37.

Thalluri was very frank with the audience revealing his life of pain living with kidney problems, getting beaten up and losing eyesight in one eye during a fight and his own suicide attempt, then receiving the tape of his friend who committed suicide. 2:37 is dedicated to this friend. Writing the movie was therapy, with the script rewritten dozens of times as the students picked for the movie workshopped it and put in their own contributions and they were embraced by Thalluri.

2:37 is an extremely important film that one audience members said should be seen by all teachers and students in an effort to understand and diffuse the hell that is high school. This is one movie that is going to stay with us for a long long time as one of the best movies of 06 TIFF.

8:30 pm
Varsity 8

Candy is the movie we were looking most forward to - especially after reading the inteview with Abbie Cornish in Black and White magazine. Have we mentioned already that we managed to ask Abbie Cornish for her autograph at the 04 TIFF after her awe-inspring performance with Sam Worthington [ at 06 TIFF here in Macbeth ] in the brilliant Cate Shortland movie Somersault?

The presence of Heath Ledger added even more excitement to the anticipation of seeing this North American premiere as he introduced the North American premiere of Candy to the audience.

Candy is a movie fuelled by deep love and lots and lots of drugs. And sparked by the firecracker performance of Abbie Cornish whose performance can go from 0 to 60 zoom!

Once upon a time there was Candy and Dan, and Dan was a criminal.

Already a hardened junkie, as Dan and his friend are injecting as Candy looks on, she asks why she can’t do this. Their friend tells her to keep it simple, just inhale it – but she defies them both and says she’ll do it in the bath. “That’s a new one.” She immediately overdoses in the tub – and Dan frantically tries to revive her. “That was wicked – let do it again!” she immediately says upon being resuscitated. And thus begins her new way of life – “new to the wild of abandon”.

They score everywhere - even in the carwash. You can literally see and feel the drugs scouring through their body.
Their relationship goes from Heaven to Earth to Hell.

When you’re a junkie, 7 of the first 10 years are spent waiting. You spend a lot of that time thinking.

Hope against hope, you are almost praying for the happy ending Candy is proving to be my favourite movie of 06 Toronto International Film Festival along with 2:37 [ review to come ] . off to Volver at 9:30 with Penelope Cruz! Then Penelope with Christina Ricci and Reese Withspoon! Then Tarsem's The Fall, Cages and Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn [ all subject to change].

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