Skip to main content

TIFF for the First Time

Ever since I created this blog I have only written amateur movie reviews. I am just one of thousands of film fans, nothing special. Until Wednesday of last week I was limited by the fact that I was living in Quebec City where most of the movies are dubbed in French, which I hate. Great movies are made in Quebec, but because it is mostly Francophone town, they prefer to dub any foreign movie. Since I learned how to speak English when I was around six years old, I can tell that something is often lost in translation. Hence I was always eargerly awaiting  the week-end to see which movie might be shown in its original language. This summer I missed a lot of wide releases and mostly watched movies made in Quebec or France. Which brings me back to last Wednesday, when I moved to Oakville, a small town outside of Toronto.

After I obtained my B.A in English Studies, I did not see myself going anywhere hence I decided to go to Sheridan College where I was accepted in post-graduate program called Journalism-New Media. It is an intensive eight-month journalism course which focuses on the impact of the Internet on the industry. I am hoping this may eventually give me greater employment opportunities and maybe give this blog some clout.

Meanwhile, the Toronto International Film Festival officially began this Thursday and for the first time in my life I am close enough to attend. A very person in one of my classes gave me a program and I fully intend to use it this week-end and possibly the next. I would love to go see a midnight screening of John Carpenter's The Ward. I think his version of The Thing is one of the best horror movies ever made. Attending at midnight might prove a bit challenging for me since I have classes all week, am currently unemployed, am running on student loans, and it takes me an hour to get from my bedroom to downtown Toronto. But, I have been a film fan since I watched my first Dysney movie and you can bet that I will not miss this for the world.

In this day and age it seems the best job on this whole planet is to be an American movie star. You can be rich, famous, loved and admired by the whole world and be paid to go work in the Caribbean. I believe the next best thing is to be paid to watch movies and then write what you think about it. If you cannot be paid to do it, then it's still a pleasure to watch this wonderful art form and write as a hobby.

I know of two people who write movies on the Internet that fit these two descriptions. Roger Ebert, of At the Movies fame, has successfully adapted to the Internet age by posting his movie reviews online, writing on his blog, and writing some of the smartest things on Twitter. Then there is blogger Grace Wang, whose essays about movies have been featured on Roger Ebert's website. Her texts can sometimes spark intelligent debates and many posts from other online writers. Her website says that she has regular 9-to-5 job, but she is clearly a gifted writer. I once responded to one of her blogs which turned out to be about the meaning of life, of all things. I can only hope to one day be able to spark such rich debates among people, on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter.

Yet this month I have a chance to chronicle my first time at TIFF. It is one of the most anticipated film festivals of the year, the launching pad for the Oscars, and I am but a bus and a train ride away. Given the fact that I am now a journalism student, I want to make the most of this experience and hopefully look back at it one day as the beginning of a (successful?) career.

More to come. TIFF, here I come!! 


Popular posts from this blog

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #70: Stand by Me

Another clear influence on Stranger Things, Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me (1986) portrays American kids from a lost era in which they could go on an adventure away from home. Nowadays if children go missing for more than an hour parents try to locate them using cell phone apps, but in the story written by Stephen King four boys in 1959 Oregon go walking in the woods during a long weekend to look for, of all things, a dead body. Their lives are sometimes at risk, they have no way of communicating with their parents, but they will definitely have a story to remember for the rest of their lives.
For many North Americans adults this movie fondly reminded them of a time in their childhood despite the inherent danger. Not so for me since, first of all, there was no time in my childhood when I could possibly go out of the house for more than three hours without my mom getting in her car to go look for me. The there is the fact that I spent a good chunk of my childhood living in Chile and Peru, an…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #77: Spartacus

Spartacus (1960) is an interesting movie in Stanley Kubrick's filmography because it doesn’t really feel like a Stanley Kubrick movie. I don’t exactly know why, but his signature style doesn’t seem to be present unlike in classics such as The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, or Dr. Strangelove. It does however feel like one of those big sword-and-sandals epics in which you have British thespians acting as Roman politicians with the occasional big battle sequence. In that respect it is spectacular and features Kirk Douglas at his best as the titular hero.
The story of the rebel slave Spartacus has inspired a bloody and sexy TV series (so far unseen by me, but I hear it’s great) and the story behind how it was made is one of those cases of life imitating art. The Bryan Cranston film Trumbo tells how screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1950s for his communist beliefs and had to rebel against the system by writing screenplays for cheap movies under a fake nam…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #79: The Thin Red Line

I once saw an interview in which Christopher Plummer said that what Terrence Malick needs is a writer. He was referring to his experience shooting The New World, which saw his role considerably reduced. The same happened to a much greater extent with Malick’s war movie The Thin Red Line (1998), which saw the screen time of many movie stars reduced to mere minutes amid a 170-minute running time. However you have to hand it to the guy: he knows how to make anything look beautiful, including the carnage of war.
Malick’s movie came out the same year as Saving Private Ryan, so I think that year I had my fill of ultra violent war films and was no too interested in seeing it. Sixteen years later I finally caught up to it on Netflix, but in hindsight the big screen might have been a better option since this is a very visual story. The plot is pretty loose, following one American soldier and sometimes some of his brothers in arms as they make their way through World War II in the Pacific theat…