TIFFThe beginning of the school year also brings an annual buzz to T-Dot: For two and a half weeks, the cinematic world gets to focus on our fair city for the Toronto International Film Festival.

I remember when I was studying in France, my friend and I were excited about going to Cannes.  We’re in France, we thought, and we’d hate to miss out on one of the biggest cinematic events of the year, we said, so let’s go!  And we searched online, and of course, we discovered that we couldn’t.  Too plebeian, presumably, for a festival that only provides screenings to those invited.

But the TIFF is different.  Anyone can watch movies, and there are a lot.  Anyone can go to the screenings. And anyone can ask questions of the moviemakers.  Last time I was at the TIFF, I saw an Uzbekistani film named Tulpan, which features a goat-herder and an arranged marriage, as well as Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (I’ve Loved You So Long) with Kristin Scott Thomas.  My friend and I saw it in the Pantages theatre (which for ten years housed The Phantom of the Opera), and it was a fabulous movie – I cannot believe she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar – where or where is the justice?  Equally fantastic was having the filmmakers and KST herself come out for questions at the end, and man, I adore that woman.

I’m bummed that I won’t be in Toronto for the TIFF this year, but there will be other years.  Unless something drastic happens, there is no possibility that this vibrant, exciting, egalitarian film festival will disappear from the horizon any time soon.

Have any of you attended film festivals?  Which ones stick out?

– Jean AAR