I got back on track rather quickly this morning. After a couple hours of waiting in lines, I still managed to get the tickets I wanted for the next couple days. (Each day, my pass allows me to get 2 tickets for public screenings that occur 2 days later (i.e. on Friday morning, I’ll get 2 tickets for public screenings on Sunday). My pass also allows me to see an unlimited number of screenings that are designated for press & industry.)) After I got my tickets, I went to see a press/industry screening of MOMMY – the Cannes-Award-Winning film from Xavier Dolan.
MOMMY is a film about a volatile teenage boy who has come back home to live with his mother after a stint in a group home. The film’s protagonist – Steve – is a good-looking, foul-mouthed powder keg, and the film is at times truly terrifying. Dolan’s love of creating music montages (almost music videos within the narrative) is back in full-force with this film. The film has some very powerful moments and the performances are mostly quite strong – in particular, Dolan favorite Anne Dorval, who plays Steve’s mother. (Dorval was also in the Dolan films I KILLED MY MOTHER, HEARTBEATS, and LAURENCE ANYWAYS.) Though I feel the film could still use some trimming (much like I did with LAURENCE ANWAYS), I ultimately think it’s a solid film with some dark Oedipal themes. The small aspect ratio is also exciting (its such a narrow frame that there’s barely ever room for more than one person in a shot – much like “Mommy’s” life).
After MOMMY, I ran into some folks I know…different people who play a variety of roles in the industry – PR, distribution, press. It’s fun to just randomly stumble into folks from across the country all in the same place. I grabbed a bite with a friend from NYC and then I headed to my next P&I screening.
’71 – a period military thriller set in Belfast during a rather scary time – is a tense film with strong performances and great editing. Though I rarely like films with lots of gun play, I was quickly enamored by the main character. It’s the story of a British soldier, who during a scuffle with vocal and eventually violent townspeople, is separated from his unit in IRA-controlled territory. Once his unit discovers that he’s missing, the film becomes a manhunt – both from his fellow soldiers who want to bring him back and from the IRA who want him dead.
For my last screening of the day, I went to the Opening Night Film – THE JUDGE. This is a film that will open wide (aka – at multiplexes everywhere…not THE NEON). This was my first time attending Opening Night festivities (Glenn Kiser, a director who visited The Dayton LGBT Film Festival with his short film SABBATICAL, invited me to be his guest). Director David Dobkin and stars Robert Duvall, Robert Downey Jr., Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio and others introduced the film. It’s the story of a sleek, big city lawyer who returns home to the midWest for the funeral of his mother. Long-estranged from his father, the trip isn’t meant to last long. But the revelation that his father has been involved in an accident which resulted in the death of a former defendant has him sticking around to defend his father in court. For the first 20-30 minutes, I thought I was in for a truly terrible ride…but eventually the film found its sometimes-stable footing and managed to have a few honest, wonderful moments (Duvall was the reason for any of these scenes). Ultimately, the film is too, too long and full of contrived moments – with lots of terribly underused great actors.
After the film, Glenn and I attended the Opening Night Party. Hundreds of beautiful, well-dressed people filled the TIFF Bell Lightbox – with music booming, dancers on scaffolding and appetizers and cocktails swirling around the various rooms and levels. It was fun to people watch for a while, but eventually we left to grab dinner…and I got back to my apartment by 1:30am. At 6:10am, my alarm will go off and I’ll be running out the door by 6:30.
Thanks for reading,