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TIFF Recap: More Movies

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More excellent movies are in this post (see my previous entry), and I highly recommend all of these.

Words and Pictures stars Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche. I've admired Owen's acting chops since I saw him in Closer. When he portrays characters who are emotionally raw he merges into them and touches you. In this movie he plays a divorced English teacher who was once very well respected in the literary community and this brought some caché to his school...but he has been going downhill and has been struggling to hide it and his alcoholism. The new art teacher played by Binoche is an exacting, challenging teacher to her students. She pushes them, she pushes herself, and because of the school's interactive atmosphere she also pushes Owen to challenge himself. Romance blossoms, but this is not about the romance. It's about pushing against how others perceive us and fighting against it, to reveal who we truly are. I love this movie.

12 Years a Slave is a blockbuster of a movie. There is so much which will be written about it that I'll just say that Fassbender was truly excellent in his portrayal of a slave owner who becomes emotionally involved with his blossoming young slave, played by Lupita Nyong'o. She is an actress to watch! In the difficult scenes featuring her, I had to distance myself because I did not want to break down in a theatre of people. Others, however, were sobbing. Kudos to the director Steve McQueen, and cast. Because of all the film's exposure I expect it to win big at the Oscars. I hope Fassbender and Nyong'o win.

I had immediately wanted to see Blue is the Warmest Color because it was a French movie about a lesbian relationship and that instantly gave it buzz. It was the first film I saw at the festival, and I was able to go to a Press and Industry screening of it. I wish I had been more careful in my timing because I had to leave half an hour before it ended (it's 179 minutes long). I also saw it with some of my new-found volunteer friends. We all agreed it was too long, but in a way we appreciated that this gave the director the time to fully flesh out the characters and their relationship. These two (Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux) are beautiful actresses, portraying innocence and curiosity with a light brush, and you should seek them out. You truly understand their characters and what they are going through, or at least I did. I must warn you that the sex scenes between these two showed everything, and at length. Seriously. They were very long sex scenes, so be warned. One of my friends disliked the film because of this, but I thought they were appropriate. (NB: A recent controversy.)

My favourite movie of TIFF was Hateship Loveship. Throughout the week it was this movie that I would find myself remembering: little nuances in the acting, small jokes, the scenes in a motel... It stuck with me. And the script was fantastic. And Kristen Wiig is awesome in her portrayal of a shy, wrong-side-of-the-tracks caregiver. Not to mention the others in the cast! Please go see it. I don't want to write any more about it because I want it to just unfold for you.

(2/4)

TIFF Recap: The Movies

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These are some of the films I saw, and all above but Therese were subtitled. Therese was very close to the book, and I believe I heard in the Q&A afterwards that the director was a grandson of Emile Zola himself!

Ida was a Polish movie about a young girl about to become a nun, filmed in black and white. I highly recommend see this as the cinematography and the story were exceptional, and for me hit close to home. A lot of it was shot so most of the frame above the characters was looming...and the subtitles had to be above rather than below.

Gloria is a woman's mid-life crisis but told in a way which is charming and also lyrical in some ways. In the Q&A with the actress who played Gloria and the director, I learned that, yes, they had made an allusion or two to the movie Death in Venice...but in my opinion it is not so stylized as that film. Also: pay attention to the furless cat which keeps showing up.

Going Away is a French film in which the characters start off as being very enigmatic and hard to fathom, but then it evolves into something else. I'm still puzzled by it. Let's just say that everyone has a history which makes them understandable once you are told what it is. The setting moves from a beach resort ( from the perspective of the working characters) to an old French estate.

Did I say Therese is amazing? Jessica Lange is a goddess in acting! So many films at TIFF portrayed strong female characters, and this was one of them. In the Q&A afterwards she noted how hard it is to sit in a theatre with people watching her film for the first time (also her first time) and being squeamish on seeing her neck on the big screen. And Tom Felton was charming, too. He was spiffed out. Nice suit, Tom!

(1/4)

TIFF, Recapped

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I'd been looking forward to this festival for quite a while, and after the orientation sessions I was expecting a lot of excitement. I had to get into Toronto very early for most of the shifts I chose, and once I arrived downtown I would grab a coffee and sit in Starbucks until it was time to head to the appropriate volunteer lounge to check in with my Captains.

During most of my volunteer shifts there was a lot of waiting, depending on the venue. The Lightbox was always busy in the atrium early on in the week. I was mainly directing people to the right line on the right floor, sometimes talking to Press and Industry people about odd questions. During a People's Choice Award shift I would usually be holding a box encouraging people to drop in their tickets to vote for that movie when they came out. This was interesting because the buzz after some movies was contagious, and made me add a few to my "to watch" list. One of my shifts at the Princess of Wales Theatre was more what I was expecting when I joined up: I was at the end of the ticket holders' line making sure people were in the right spot. This was a line which grew to almost 1700 people! So, yes. Lots of greeting and later shouting as masses of people showed up. Do you have a Priority ticket? Then you can go to the front of the theatre, oh lucky patron!

As I was there all week I actually saw a lot of "talent," as my captains called them. Most of them I saw on stage, ranging from my being directly near them (Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche) to seeing them from up in the balcony seats (Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o, Steve McQueen, etc.). The following talent I was closer to, which doesn't really matter to me personally, but it gives you an idea of how electric the atmosphere can get at a festival like this: Jessica Lange, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Elizabeth Olsen, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, Meg Tilly...and some other directors and actresses you may not recognize as they were from other countries, like Chile. I shall try to remember their names later. I was really happy I was sitting a few seats away from Kristen Wiig, as it was one of my first Galas (red carpet events) of the festival, as well as the movie that I ended up thinking was my pick for Best-of-Festival: Hateship Loveship. I only vaguely knew of Kristen beforehand, so I had no preconceived idea of how the film might be.

Most of my experience with Rush lines was when I was in them. I was able to line up with tens (sometimes hundreds) of people hoping to get in to see a chosen movie and pay with one of the volunteer vouchers. (You get a voucher, sometimes two, for every shift you do.) I learned the first day that if you were a volunteer you were able to attend Press and Industry screenings which were closed to the public. That gave you a greater chance to see the movie as not every P&I person will go to all the films. Lots of empty seats! I was only turned away for one, Ida, and I guess it was due to the buzz. I made sure to see Ida on one of my free days.

There were also free public screenings of a few movies. I was able to finally see a Yasujirô Ozu's film, An Autumn Afternoon (1962). I've had it on my to-watch list for quite a while! Also, if you are a volunteer, there are often free tickets available from the media office (?) which are released if they are not needed. I saw a great (and a meh) film that way.

There were so many venues to go to to watch movies, but I only went to these because they were so close to each other and from the train station: TIFF Bell Lightbox, Princess of Wales Theatre, Roy Thomson Hall, and the multiplex Scotiabank Theatre.

And here are the films I saw:

Blue is the Warmest Color
The Big Chill
Hateship Loveship
12 Years a Slave
Therese
Ida
Words and Pictures
Going Away
Gloria
The Daughter
An Autumn Afternoon
The Summer of the Flying Fish
A Wolf at the Door
Cinemanovels

I also Rushed a few I didn't get into, like Gravity and Don Juan. Oh well!

The day after the festival I was prepared to go to the blockbuster volunteer party but considering it was at the dance club the Guvernment I decided to pass even though I got dressed up in a new sequin dress. I was hoping to hang out with a few new friends from TIFF there, but they had had a long week, and going alone made me a bit...nervous. Darn it! I should have grabbed my jeans and went. There is always next year.

P.S. That's me in the photo above, taken by a friend. We're entering the Gala Presentation of The Big Chill from the Priority line at the Princess of Wales. Made me feel special. Apparently I was about to be standing near Glenn Close as she entered on the Red Carpet, but I missed her! D'oh.

Good Weather? Let's Paint!

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I've been working on projects over the summer. Recently I scraped, sanded and painted the iron café table someone found for me last year. It's a glossy black and it turned out fine (although if I had the inclination I would have sanded the surface much more).

Before the bitter weather sets in I'm knocking off a few more items. There's the stool I found out in the trash. It was wooden and filthy, but after scrubbing and sanding and given some coats of glossy Royale Red it's coming along. Next will be a really old lamp. I've already buffed the metal parts, but I don't know how to clean the plastic cord back to white. I'll be shopping for a turquoise blue to spray on the ceramic base. I've never liked the colour blue it is now. I considered red, but...I'm doubtful the base suits an "earthy" look.

Checking In

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It's been such a busy month for me. I hope everyone is well? Today is a rainy day here in Oakville. I had a meeting and a lunch date in Toronto yesterday (unusual combo for me, so Metro) and this weekend I shall try and hit a few tennis balls around with a friend if the skies allow. Twitterverse is talking about possible flooding, so I don't hold much hope.

I had an excellent time at the Rogers Cup and TIFF while volunteering. I made some new friends and I hope to keep up with them in the coming months. This past week I've been somewhat in recovery mode.

I hope to post more about TIFF but, please: poke me if I take too long. Rainy days make my brain fuzzy.

TIFF: The Big Chill Gala

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Last night I was lucky to get a ticket for the new 4K showing of The Big Chill. Kevin Kline, Meg Tilly and Glenn Close were there with others. We were fashionably last minute getting in...

It was located at the Princess of Wales Theatre. I'm volunteering there in a few days, so perhaps I can get a better series of pictures then, but here is the Q&A with the cast and crew afterwards:


This was after a long day of volunteering in the morning at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, meeting up with new friends on the red carpet (see below), and running to see the new French film Blue is the Warmest Color.


We had a blast!

Evernote and Recipes

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I've just in the past month or so been using Evernote to store notes and my newfound vegetarian recipes. I've just discovered that, besides having tags, all my notes are searchable. So now I can clean out my fridge by finding any reference to beans, say, and find that recipe which I had forgotten! This beats saving a recipe to my bookmarks by a long shot. It's so much faster and convenient. Cool. Cool cool cool.

Mission Statement

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Past Successes:

1) Active learning, and achieving dreams step-by-step.
2) Expanding Emotional Intelligence
3) Finishing what I start and achieving satisfaction in my personal and work life.
4) Giving back to friends, family, and community.

Top Values:

Compassion, Forgiveness, Integrity, Joy, Serenity

All Values:

Balance, Committment, Compassion, Confidence, Consciousness, Contemplation, Courage, Creativity, Dependability, Empathy, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Generosity, Gratitude, Health, Hospitality, Humour, Imagination, Integrity, Intuition, Joy, Knowledge, Love, Non-Violence, Optimism, Organization, Patience, Security, Serenity, Synergy, Wisdom.

Ways in Which I Can Make a Contribution:

1) To use compassion and forgiveness to make a positive impact in the world.
2) To keep my family happy through communication and sharing joy.
3) To share joyful experiences with and to provide non-judgemental support to my friends.
4) To volunteer and support individuals and organizations in my community.

Goals:

1) To increase my compassion and help me guide or mentor others to find their bliss.
2) To become confident, serene, and successful hurdler of challenges.
3) To find a job for which I can mentor talent, achieve mindful goals, and satisfy my financial needs.

Mission Statement:

To share the joy of living with compassion, integrity and wisdom while accomplishing my goals and the dreams of others.

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List of Values

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I realize when I posted my link to the blog on how to create your own mission statement that I was missing the list of values I had been referencing. Here is the list:

http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/list-of-values.htm

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