It's time for an end of summer ritual: going through the list of films at the Toronto International Film Festival, coming up with a shortlist that gets culled again into an even shorterlist of films
I never see.
So it's down to this from that overall whack of 352, according to TIFF -- reel 'em back to back, and it's almost as long as the Leafs' Cup drought -- I've come up with 23 and if I get to more than two of them, it'll be a good score. A week from today it all starts in what running pal and Star film guy Peter Howell calls "the critic's World Cup".
|Zidane: Caught on film, it's a must-see.|
As far as sports flicks, looks like there's two surefire winners and a few possibilities that are worth a second look:
Zidane: Un Portrait du XXIe Siecle (A 21st-century Portrait). North American premiere. Seventeen cameras follow Zinedine Zidane around the pitch during a 2005 Real Madrid-Villareal game. Simple premise -- don't go in expecting any head-butts. Still, looks like a must-see.
Offside. North American prem. A comedy about Iranian women who defy the all-male soccer crowd rule, dressing up as men in order to get into a World Cup qualifying match. This is the other sports must on my list. Here's director Jafar Panahi in an interview (including clips) with openDemocracy:
openDemocracy: The film is very funny, and at times almost farcical. How important is humour to you in telling the story?
Jafar Panahi: I believe that it is the greatest insult to women that they have to deny their identity as women and have to dress as men to take part in society. So yes, there is humour, but it is bitter humour. You may laugh at it, but nevertheless you feel very sad that women have to deny their femininity to take part in a function where men can take part.
So there are my two top picks. Some others:
Paperback Hero. Early '70s Canadian film about a small-town Saskatchewan hockey star who can't let go. Okay movie, I recall, but cut from the same cloth as too many others of the era and frankly, I preferred the CanCon unclassic Face-Off for its Jim McKenny skating scenes, Derek Sanderson as Derek Sanderson, the sideburns, the tie-dye, but especially the moment in the coffee shop where an old man-fan cackles to George Armstrong: "God bless ya Armie. I hope ya have a 50-goal season."
White Palms. Gold medal winning gymnast Kyle Shewfelt is one of the co-stars in this one, about a Hungarian gymnast who comes to Canada and tries to get his groove back as a coach, with Shewfelt as his phenom. Could be okay. Could also be TV Movie of the Week fare.
Schuss! Not sure what to make of this one. It's about skiing. Maybe.