Sunday, September 16, 2007

TIFF Day 10 (Saturday)

Festival t-shirts

Ten days and over thirty films later, TIFF finally comes to a close for me. There were no P&I screenings on the final day but nonetheless I was still up at 7am as I wanted to catch the live Premiership football at one of the nearby pubs. I must be mad...

After a little nap I popped over to the main TIFF Box Office as I'd decided that I should purchase one of the hefty Programme Guides as a memento - alas they were already sold out, so instead I had to frantically dash down to the College Box Office where I was told they had just five remaining.

TIFF Programme Guide

I also took the opportunity to do a little more shopping, picking up DVDs of Disturbia and Black Snake Moan for $10 each.

There was nothing much left in the Public Screenings that I wanted to see, so instead I caught the subway to the Scotiabank Theatre where they were showing a sneak preview of Peter Berg's The Kingdom. It's a typically pro-American thriller following a team of FBI agents (played by Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) on the trail of terrorists in Saudi Arabia. It's a solid action picture with an able cast, but suffers from a similar fate as The Bourne Ultimatum, with director Berg unable to keep the camera still for a moment. You'd be well advised to avoid sitting in the front few rows for this one, especially if you're prone to motion sickness.

A l'interieur - with co-director Alexandre Bustillo

A l'interieur - with co-director Julien Maury

The final Midnight Madness film was the pure French horror of A l'interieur (Inside) which I'd already seen at the P&I screening on Wednesday. The atmosphere at the Ryerson was even more rowdy than usual, with the whole crowd engaging in a game of keepy-uppy with a beachball for a full twenty minutes before Colin Geddes and the two directors took to the stage to introduce the film. Colin was sporting a black eye patch in reference to the running joke about piracy - the whole audience shouting "Arrrrrrrr!" each time the anti-piracy warning was displayed on screen.

A l'interieur is up there with its French counterpart Frontiere(s) as my favourite film of the festival. Watching it with a packed audience was a joy in itself, hearing the collective groans and repeated exclamations of, "Oh my God!" and "Oh shit!". The movie has a very simple set up; a pregnant woman Sarah (Alysson Paradis, sister of Vanessa) is at home on Christmas Eve, the day before her baby is due, when there's a knock at the door. The sinister black-clad woman (Beatrice Dalle) outside seems to know everything about Sarah. More importantly she wants Sarah's baby, and nothing or no-one is going to stand in her way. So begins a terrifying game of cat and mouse which paints the screen red with its copious bloodletting. Both actresses give incredibly powerful performances, with Dalle portraying one of the most monstrous female characters to ever grace our screens in a singularly controlled manner. The directorial duo of Bustillo & Maury do everything right in their first feature, keeping it tense throughout and employing an unsettling mix of sound design and music. It's a shocking debut which knows no boundaries and will leave you a quivering wreck afterwards, A l'interieur is an outstanding, uncompromising piece of cinematic terror.

Colin Geddes and Me

After the Q&A Colin invited a group of us - including the directors - back to his place for drinks, so we piled in a few cabs and headed out to his flat where we partied until the early hours. A fantastic end to what has been a fantastic festival experience.

As a final footnote, Cronenberg's Eastern Promises won the Audience Award at this year's festival it was announced last night.

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