SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 2006
It was just one of those perfect days at 06 TIFF
9:30 A.M. !
An Almodovar ghost story – dirty secrets should be handled on the inside. Penelope Cruz is amply present and her mind is on the fly as she has to cope with the tragedies that have fallen on her that she has to deal with. Of course it’s a comedy underscored with darkness and warmth.
With no internet buzz and you were there just because you wanted to be there to see Penelope. A true English charmer and comedy with a great score that had the crowd laughing along for the ride with Christina Ricci as the unfortunate Penelope who is born with a curse and her despairing parents played to the hilt by Catherine O’Hara and Richard Grant – who go through the list of English blueboods they want to marry Penelope to break the curse and all the suitors who throw themselves out the window at the first sight of her – and a comedy with a personal message at that. You can almost think Pride and Prejudice. The design sets from New Zealand were truly fantastical. The experience was so reminiscent of times experienced at the gala for A Good Woman – standing ovation for our Toronto born director – Christina Ricci shines and can express more with her eyes than any mortal. Candy, 2:37 and Penelope are becoming my *three* favourite movies of 06 TIFF. And believe it or not for a Saturday gala repeat showing the actors showed up for the Q&A ! The crowd fell in love with Christina Ricci and the fellow castmates. Motivation for Christina Ricci between her before and after takes her back to her sad days when all she could see of herself was an overweight 15 year old girl.
Tarsem Singh first came to light for many for the REM Losing My Religion video. His keen sense of the visual brings this sumptuous fest of story and colour shot in 30 countries around the world. Storytelling brought to life a story within a story – with a message at the end dedicated to the great storytellers of the early 1900s – the silent movie makers and their fabulous comedies and stunts. The little girl steals the show.
My first encounter with a Belgian film at TIFF. Cages pronounced the French way as in Cages aux Folles. Once upon a time there was Eve and Dan. Cages is intensely intimate and physical you are drawn into their relationship. She is a young ambulance medic who suffers an accident after her ambulance collides with another vehicle with a shard of glass tearing through her throat. She survives, but she is imprisoned in a body that can barely speak. Her speech impairment is proven not to be physical, but a psychological block. Her handsome husband who runs the pub endeavours to help her bring her speech back but the results are frustrating to her and him. Six months pass and she can barely speak more than a few words at a time. She has become a shell of her former self, images from the accident still haunt her. He declares that he needs time off to rethink their relationship. Unless she can say something, he will leave her. She tries, She catches her husband with the young woman who supplies the alcohol for their pub This new woman has become Dan’s lover giving him what Eve cannot. Just as she is imprisoned by her speech block, she literally imprisons Dan, applying camphor to him then tying him to the bed. Somehow in this way she is trying to demonstrate she still loves him and does not want him to go. Oliver Masse-Depasse, the director in his first feature film shows in Cages how a relationship between a man and a woman develops, flourishes and comes to an end.
I like the jungle against my better judgement.
With the world premiere of Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog is back at TIFF and so is Christian Bale. Werner Herzog, Christian Bale, Jeremy Davies [ back too from Dogville ] were there in person for the intro and the after Q&A. Steve Zahn also a critical part of the movie was in L.A. shooting but he is remembered from the TIFF classic Joyride.
“It was Klaus Kinski who said the jungle is erotical. I say the jungle is obscene, it is base and vile,” said Herzog. The jungle is a major player to this Vietnam war tale originally started as a Herzog documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly – the next step Rescue Dawn shows Christian Bale as Dieter Dengler and his harrowing experience in 1965, the early days of the secret war in Vietnam after he is shot down and captured on his maiden flight. His hope, eternal optimism, always positive spurs his fellow campmates through the unbelievable ordeal in the prison camp. Jeremy Davies's character has already been in the camp for more than two years and keeps waiting for his release. All the inmates tell and the jungle after the escape.
Rescue Dawn was an intensely physical challenge that Christian Bale embraced – slogging through the jungle with a machete was like walking through syrup – he endured the leeches and the snakes and having to eat live maggots “wasn’t that bad”.
He went on: "Wermer wrestles movies to the ground. He is enjoying the pain of mavie the
movie, [just like[ pulling that boat through the jungle" in Fitzcaraldo.
Dieter Dengler was a great friend of Werner Herzog who wishes Dengler could have been their that day of the premiere, but he passed away five years ago. However, his widow and son were there.
The audience gave a well deserved standing ovation for Werner Herzog and all.
Today at 9:30 a.m. A Good Year with Ridley Scott [hopefully we wake up], BABEL at 11:30 [Cate Blanchett], Paris Je T'Aime at 3 pm, The Last Kiss at 6 p.m. and capping it all off at 8:30 p.m. with D.O.A.P.
Oh joy. One week to go.