32nd Toronto International Film Festival
USA, September 6 - September 15 2007
What an exciting festival, marrying the best of Cannes (Mungiu, the Coens) and Venice (Allen, De Palma, Loach, Chabrol) with splashy premieres of major US films (such as Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe and Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton) which the studios are willing to screen within the non-competitive aspect of the event. And of course the presence of “local” filmmakers Guy Maddin and David Cronenberg, who introduced My Winnipeg and Eastern Promises.
The Toronto International Film Festival has not only become a major event in the past years; it’s a market, with many producers and distributors coming from around the world. It’s a major showcase for North American professionals who don’t even bother travel to Venice (or even Cannes) anymore. But it’s also, mainly, a festival for the audience. Piers Handling and Noah Cowan have managed to unite these two peculiar, and usually separate, groups of festivalgoers in one big event that spreads throughout the city and brings major cultural attention to Toronto. Given the size of the event and its success, a permanent home has been lacking. But it was revealed this year: the Bell Lightbox, just west of Toronto’s downtown core, will in 2009 become the new home of the TIFF. We look forward to its grand opening.
Our jury focused on the “Discovery” section, comprised of world premieres of first and second features. In his FIPRESCI-awarded debut feature La Zona, the Mexican director of Uruguayan origin Rodrigo Plá unfolds the image of a rich Mexican minority surrounded by a poor majority. The film makes a subtle use of cinematographic codes (thriller, anticipation), bringing to light a sadly realistic dichotomy: The gap in Mexican society, and the frailty of human conviction. (g.v.)