Category: culture





TIFF 2009Faithful readers of the CulturePin know how much I delight in the annual cinematic circus that is the Toronto International Film Festival, better known as TIFF to its devotees.  Beyond the mega-hyped buzz films (the premiere of Jennifer’s Body starring Megan Fox and written by Diablo Cody) and shoe-in Oscar contenders I wanted to share a list of movie picks for this year that I think stand out among the incredible selection.

Karaoke

Director: Chris Chong Chan Fui
Country: Malaysia
Year: 2009
Language: Malay
Runtime: 75 minutes
Format: Color/35mm
Rating: 14A

Karaoke-TIFF-2009
Karaoke juxtaposes a young man’s idealism with the reality of a changing Malaysia through karaoke videos, humorous, poetic and filled with fascinating imagery from the country.

PUBLIC SCREENINGS
Monday September 14
5:30PM
AMC 6

Wednesday September 16
03:00PM
AMC 5

Saturday September 19
6:30PM
JACKMAN HALL – AGO

Buy Tickets

Down For Life

Director: Alan Jacobs
Country: USA
Year: 2009
Language: English
Runtime: 92 minutes
Format: Colour/HDCAM
Rating: 14A

tiff-2009-down-for-life

Director Alan Jacobs, whose last film at TIFF was the buzzworthy Nina Takes a Lover (1994) directs this adaptation of a New York Times article, revolving around a single day in the life of a 15-year-old Latina gang leader. When she decides to get out of the gang life, she discovers, that leaving is more difficult than joining. The film stars local youths from the neighborhoods of South-Central Los Angeles where it was shot.

PUBLIC SCREENINGS
Saturday September 12
9:30PM
AMC 7

Monday September 14
3:30PM
AMC 7

Friday September 18
6:15PM
AMC 7

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Midnight Madness Programme at TIFF 2009

One of the highlights at TIFF every year is the amazingly diverse and bizarre Midnight Madness series held at the Ryerson University theater.  The crowd that packs the house every night at midnight is like hardcore Deadheads repainted for a Rocky Horror Picture Show birthday party screening.  Typically horror and gross-out oriented, here are some of this year’s more unusual Midnight Madness picks:

A Town Called Panic (Panique au village)

Directors: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar
Country: Belgium/France/Luxembourg
Year: 2009
Language: French
Runtime: 75 minutes
Format: Color/35mm
Rating: G

tiff-2009-a-town-called-panic-panique-au-village

Playfully charged with Belgian surrealism and a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility, A Town Called Panic, based on the warped Belgian television series (think something along the lines of Robot Chicken) feels as Monty Python’s Flying Circus hijacked the world of Pingu. Sounds too good to be true. And note the “G” Rating.

PUBLIC SCREENINGS
Friday September 18
11:59PM
RYERSON

Saturday September 19
3:45PM
AMC 3

Buy Tickets

Symbol (Shinboru)

Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Country: Japan
Year: 2009
Language: Japanese
Runtime: 93 minutes
Format: Color/35mm
Rating: PG

tiff-2009-symbol-shinboru
Hitoshi Matsumoto’s made a huge spalsh at Midnight Madness 2007 with his superhero-versus-giant-monsters comedy DAINIPPONJIN. He returns to TIFF 2009 with his second film, Symbol – Shinboru in Japanese – a surreal journey into the imagination. It will be interesting to see Mr. Matsumoto’s take on the subject as compared to Terry Gilliam’s Dr. Parnassus.

PUBLIC SCREENINGS
Thursday September 17
11:59PM
RYERSON

Saturday September 19
12:00PM
CUMBERLAND 1

Buy Tickets


You know maybe LA wasn’t the best place to move to mellow out. Between the fires that burned down friends’ neighborhoods last week to the unusual and unprecedented humidity blanketing the area that scientists have been analyzing to the insane traffic we negotiated on my way to an audition for the TV show Crash today wherein I would play a Charles Manson loving cult leader to the Sonic BOOM that just rattled my entire building and left a flood of Facebook Status updates asking WTF?!?

Well I had my emergency backpack in hand and was ready to walk right out the door into the safer area that is the park up the street, thinking it was an earthquake, maybe even the big one, but no, it was just the Space Shuttle Discovery landing, right on time mind you, at Edwards Air Force base in the desert north of Los Angeles.

Associated Press reported at 2:58PM that this could happen. Of course since I, nor anyone else I know, was actually expecting anything like a Space Shuttle in the neighborhood this afternoon, I never saw the article. They predicted that first opportunity for landing would be at 5:53PM and lo – 5:55PM on the dot my apartment shook and rattled and I honestly thought, that’s it those upstairs neighbors have really gone too far this time. I thought they may have finally set off a pipe bomb. Did I mention it’s September 11th?

It’s just another one of those crazy things you get used to, living here in the land of dreams. Broken ones even. So don’t laugh next time you are a toddler’s birthday party in Beechwood when everyone ducks and scatters at the sound of a balloon popping.

*Heaves sigh*.

Time for some AC, a cold one and a nap.