In Search of A Dangerous Method — A First-Timer at TIFF, Fall 2011 Part 1

~by BuckyW

Our post of recent news for a Cronenberg-themed Augmented Reality Game (ARG) and 20-year retrospective of the Director’s films at the Toronto International Film Festival [see post 1/5/12] got me reminiscing about my first-time TIFF experience last fall. Perhaps the anticipation for Cosmopolis [see post 1/9/12] might inspire some of our readers to become first-time TIFF attendees in 2012?

If so, I thought it might be interesting to relate my experience. I had been to Tribeca and some smaller festivals, but wanted to attend one of the premiere film festivals in the world. I wanted the “big-time” experience and also, I do love Toronto. My major goal was to see A Dangerous Method and David Cronenberg and cast at the screening. Well, I succeeded, and I’ll go back this fall with [hopefully] Cosmopolis the target!

So, in this Part 1, I’ll relate getting to the festival and seeing A Dangerous Method at TIFF, and note other films I viewed there, including several featuring Cosmopolis cast members. In Part 2, I’ll relate some other experiences of this first-timer, and share some advice and lessons learned.

Princess of Wales Theater

A Week’s Worth of Big Buzz and Indie Films—Including A Dangerous Method!

I spent a wonderful, exciting week seeing more than a dozen films in five days, with glorious weather for line waiting and sightseeing. I viewed both big-buzz films like Moneyball (Brad Pitt) and Rampart (Woody Harrelson) and smaller indie and foreign films, a large number French-language.

In addition to A Dangerous Method, I saw star Sarah Gadon in The Moth Diaries, Juliette Binoche in Elles, all with director/cast Q&A. I also saw Kevin Durand in Butter, and while I did not see The Ides of March at TIFF, I did view later at home. I also saw Giamatti in Win Win in a hometown screening, with the Director, Tom McCarthy and the young actor and real-life wrestling champ, Bobby Cannavale. I will comment on these films in a subsequent post, where we look back at recent work of the Cosmopolis cast.

I learned that one thing that makes festivals like these so special is the unexpected gem that stays with you long after you leave. One such film for me was Wetlands, directed by a new (to feature film) French Canadian Director, Guy Édoin that blew my socks off. The cinematography was stunning, and it was an affecting look at a farming family in Quebec having hit hard times. Another film that I found fascinating and very moving was House of Tolerance, directed by Bertrand Bonello, which TIFF described as a “highly stylized look at the final days” of a brothel in Paris in the late 19th century. The final melancholy scene, a dance amongst the characters, was performed to the tune of “Nights in White Satin.” It sounds weird, but it really worked. It was amazing.

Arriving in Toronto, Movie Star-Sighting and Paparazzi Dodging

I timed my trip perfectly to arrive with Ryan Gosling and Marisa Tomei! What seemed like a score of paparazzi prevented any fan getting near Gosling. Marisa Tomei, passing just four feet from me, was lucky enough to have the paparazzi distracted with Gosling. I learned when you spot a celeb, look out for paparazzi so they won’t mow you down in their frenzy! They “come out of the woodwork” with large cameras, practically flying through the air. Gosling was quite cooperative, staying a while for autographs.

When you are physically twenty feet from this action, one learns the hassle factor and potential physical risk these actors face. Gosling was quite generous signing autographs, and I know Robert Pattinson, the lead in Cosmopolis, is known for graciously greeting his fans. He spends a lot of time on this at movie premieres, but also on shoots where fans show in droves—most recently in July on a Toronto street following a full night shoot for Cosmopolis.

After I arrived in town and settled into my hotel, I headed to “Festival Village” and the TIFF box office to collect my tickets. I got most of my priority films (although luck plays a part in their allocation system.) However, A Dangerous Method was hard to come by. After a considerable amount of effort pursuing alternative “shots” at a ticket, I got a ticket to the Gala Presentation. Handing the tickets over, the box office staffer exclaimed, “Wow, you GOT this?” I related how hard I tried and he said you were lucky; we [volunteers] were trying to get them too!

A Dangerous Method Screening and Red Carpet

The Gala Presentation at the Roy Thomson Hall was the red carpet event for A Dangerous Method. However, waiting in line with tickets, one cannot view the red carpet. So if you want to stargaze outside, you have to forego the screening. However, there was a handy-dandy large screen in the lobby projecting what was going on live outside. Keira Knightley and Sarah Gadon were just gorgeous; Cronenberg posed with his quite striking daughter, Caitlin, (who is the set photographer for Cosmopolis.) Sarah has a classic movie star face, tiny and feminine; Keira was stunning as always, sporting a new, and dramatic and face framing “lob” hairstyle. ” Viggo Mortensen was quite dapper. Mr. Cronenberg looked so dignified and, well, “auteur-ish!”

The Director and CEO of TIFF introduced David Cronenberg, noting him as “one of the most important filmmakers in the world, who is a constant source of pride to fellow Canadians.” When humble Mr. Cronenberg took the stage he quietly joked, “So, that’s terrifying! We just made a movie, you know?” and jumped right in to introduce “some of my collaborators on the movie.” This included Christopher Hampton who wrote the play the movie was based on, three producers, and then the actors. Sarah Gadon was introduced as, “someone I will describe as my discovery,” Viggo as “someone who will claim he discovered me!” which prompted a big fat kiss and hug from him to his Director, and Keira, I’m sure tongue-in-cheek, as “finally a bright new star on the cinema horizon.” Unfortunately for us, Fassbinder was collecting an award elsewhere for Shame.

Photo Sources:
Toronto (Christopher Doust) (Joe Scarnici)

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