CC Toronto Correspondent apologizes for a really tardy update on the ongoing Toronto Film Festival. CC has been here since 9/11, and has been busy playing catch-up. It's daunting to try to catch all 335 films showing at the festival, not least impossible. But this is definitely a film-loving city. Just look at all the people who turn out for the screenings, which can start as early at 9am! CC also wants to stress how impressively the whole festival is run, and how ultra-friendly the festival staff is. No matter how harried or hassled the staff may be, they ALWAYS respond with a smile. CC is even wont to believe that they truly care for the well-being of the festival-goers. CC has the mandate to catch Asian films here, but managed to slip in a few other films as well. These are CC's favorites so far:
-- EVERLASTING REGRET (dir Stanley Kwan). The latest from the director of ROUGE and CENTRESTAGE. It's adapted from a best-selling Chinese novel of the same name, and stars Cantopop megastar Sammi Cheng and Tony Leung Kar-fai. It seems that every time Kwan goes back in time -- in particular old Shanghai -- he comes up with a gem. EVERLASTING REGRET is absolutely beautiful and exquisite. It covers 40 years in the life of a woman as she weathers one lover after and another, and as Shanghai goes through momentous changes. Though many may say otherwise, CC thinks Sammi's idiosyncratic performance seems to gel well with the style of the film. CC was entranced by the film from the first reel to the last.
-- THREE TIMES (dir Hou Hsiao-hsien). Another masterful work from HHH. The film is broken up into three parts, each set in a different era. The film seems to have some self-referential points to previous films in HHH's oeuvre, and is held together by the gorgeous pair of Shu Qi and Zhang Zhen. It's coming to the New York Film Festival. Not to be missed.
-- SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE (dir Park Chan-wook). The highly-anticipated last part in Park's vengeance trilogy. Anyone expecting a KILL BILL kind of film will be disappointed -- and surprised. As slickly made as his previous films but considerably less gory and violent, LADY VENGEANCE made for a very satisfying conclusion. Coming to NY too.
-- WALK THE LINE (dir James Mangold). CC walked into the screening by mistake (was supposed to catch Iranian film IRON ISLAND), but it was by no means time wasted. Watch for a strong Oscar push for this film, especially for Joachim Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. They delivered strong performances, and they did all their own vocals! CC was absolutely floored by their singing.
Another round of films today!