Overheard at the Toronto International Film Festival
I just returned from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, which wrapped up this weekend with an awards ceremony awards and a host of final screenings. Instead of offering up individual reviews, I’ve collected a bevy of quotes I overheard at the festival that both capture the vibe of this year’s TIFF and offer a glimpse of what to keep an eye out for in theaters over the coming months.
1. “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, I KEEEL YOU!” —Actor Michael Douglas, in Jean-Baptiste Léonetti’s imbecilic film The Reach, playing—get this—a rich, smug douchebag who goes big-game hunting with a young guide (Jeremy Irvine) who, after a bloody accident, winds up becomes the target of the hunting spree. This particular line, spoken as Douglas’ character is gleefully throwing lit sticks of dynamite at his quarry from the safety of his Mercedes Benz Batmobile-like supercruiser, is definitely not played for comedy, but it led the packed house of critics into howls of disbelieving laughter.
2. “As an actor, you dream of being able to tell extraordinary stories about extraordinary people, but the stakes felt so high playing an icon. So, it was one of those jobs I went bullheaded into trying to get, and once I got it I had this sort of mount of euphoria, followed by a sledgehammer of fear.” —Actor Eddie Redmayne, talking candidly about playing Stephen Hawking in the James Marsh bio-pic The Theory of Everything. Redmayne’s performance is absolutely striking and should put him in good stead come major award-season.
3. “Did you bring pillows and blankets?” —Filipino auteur Lav Diaz to the audience about to take in his brilliant, five-and-a-half-hour epic From What is Before. The film concerns the period of time in his country when fading despot leader Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law on the citizens of the Philippines.
4. “My #TIFF14 has been dominated by okay movies featuring great performances.” —Buzzfeed film critic Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore), capturing the zeitgeist of the majority of the festival—with a few notable exceptions.
5. “I wish that were me, that bird singing.” —Actress Marion Cotillard as the fragile and depressed Sandra in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s stunning new film Two Days, One Night. The film is about a working-class mother of two just returning from a mental breakdown. She is given a weekend to petition her co-workers to change their minds after her cruel manager gives them an ultimatum between letting her keep her job or giving other employees their annual bonuses. Deeply moving and philosophically enriching, the film was one of the highlights of the festival.