Saturday, September 10, 2016

Three movies already

Despite my good intentions to exercise moderation at this year's TIFF, and despite starting out to buy only a Back Half pass, I have already seen three movies.

Yesterday I went to a free screening of Nightlife. In the schedule, it has a block of an hour and a half, but in fact, they showed the 15-minute show over and over, with a wee break in between. The description didn't say much: psychedelic, hypnotic, botany...


Trees swayed in the dark, fireworks went off, we listened to someone sing "I was born a loser" at different volumes and speeds and levels for 15 minutes (just that one line, not the whole song) and that was that. The filmmaker is also a sculptor and the whole thing was indeed very sculptural and arty and so on. I wonder if anyone found it so "immersive" that they stayed for all four shows. I confess to leaving after one!

Stephen wanted to see Oliver Stone's Snowden. It opens in theatres before the festival even ends, so there was only the big gala last night and one other show today at noon. So we went today, to see a movie in Roy Thomson Hall, home of the symphony orchestra! We got there almost an hour before showtime, standard business at TIFF, and there were already a few hundred people in line! However, before they opened the doors, the line went down the block and around the corner -- we were pretty close to the beginning, considering the building holds a couple of thousand people. We got a fine seat, and it was actually really great to see a film in that huge space.

Oliver Stone was there and said a few words before the movie, but there wasn't a Q&A afterwards. He said he'd been to Russia nine times to talk to Snowden about events, and they'd interviewed and met with everyone they could. It is a bit hard to make a thrilling movie with people sitting at computers, and sitting in a hotel room in Hong Kong, but it was pretty gripping and it makes Snowden's story understandable -- I think a lot of people don't really know the significance of what he did and this sets it out pretty clearly.

When I got out of the theatre, I checked my e-mail. Every day of the festival I get a thing called TIFF Daily, a little e-mail blurb about what's going on, that I don't really read, except for the "enter to win" section! Last year I got two pairs of tickets this way, and today I got a notification that I won my first pair of this year. Blah blah September 10th blah blah. Since we were in the neighbourhood I went and picked up the tickets today, even though I assumed the show was tomorrow. It wasn't till I was almost home that I looked at the schedule and the tickets and the date, and realised I had tickets for a show at 4:45 today! Yikes!

Lucky for me the show was at the theatre near me, and I had time to get a snack and get in another lineup. (Stephen had had enough film-going and I couldn't find another date on half an hour's notice, so I had an extra ticket, which I shoved at some guy in the box office line on my way in.)

It was a bit curious that the people on either side of me in line all knew people involved in the production. In fact, the place was filled with Mom and Dad and friends and neighbours and people with bit parts here and there. This was not really a movie, but three episodes of a TV show, which started out life as a web-based show. It's called nirvanna the band the show and it's hilarious.

Our heroes, Jay and Matt

Stupid, indeed, and I think three episodes might be all I need to see, but so very funny. And the guys are from Toronto, the show is half shot down the block... they even talked about making a film for a festival and how they'd do better at TIFF than at Sundance. Loads of laughs, and with such a friendly audience you can't help but have a good time.

Unless I win more tickets, that's it for me for a few days. I start in earnest on Wednesday.