Well. The film festival is over for another year. I feel dizzy and tired and just a little sick.
I saw so many great films, but they’re all whirling around in my brain right now, so it’s hard to pick a favourite. Last year and the year before it was easier… Brokeback Mountain in 2005 and Crash in 2004 were easily my favourites… This year, I haven’t decided yet, but AMAZING GRACE, is in the running.
I actually had tickets for 5 films today, but only went to 3 — skipping the first and the last of the day at 9:00 am and 9:00 pm.
I decided to make AMAZING GRACE my final film. It was the official closing film of the festival and was wonderful.
It’s the story of William Wilberforce who, I admit, I’d never heard of before. He was the British member of parliament responsible for the bill which abolished slavery in Britain in 1807.
The film is being released in February 2007 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the passing of this bill — which Wilberforce had been fighting for for nearly 30 years largely against the sugar industry.
Make a movie date in your calendars now for February.
I was supposed to go to THE DOG PROBLEM in the morning… but decided to sleep in. I’m sorry about missing that one. I’ve heard good things and I don’t know if it’s been sold to a distributor yet so it might not make it to theatres. Scott Caan is the filmmaker and it stars Giovani Ribisi.
I also saw two documentaries today. The first was SHOT IN THE DARK and Adrien Grenier of Entourage was both filmmaker and subject. I’ve been a fan of Adrien Grenier since I first saw him in THE ADVENTURES OF SEBASTIAN COLE a lovely little coming of age film, nearly ruined by a horrible fake accent done by Margaret Colin playing his mother, but saved by Adrien and by Clark Gregg as his cross-dressing transgendered step-father.
Anyway, SHOT IN THE DARK is a documentary about Adrien confronting his biological father whom he hadn’t seen since he was five. The film was shot in 1999-2000. I expect he couldn’t get anyone to give him the money to turn it into a real film until Entourage made him a bit famous. HBO Films is the producer of SHOT IN THE DARK. No surprise. Anyway, if it shows up on HBO or the documentary channel, it’s worth a watch. I also saw THE KILLER WITHIN about a man who came close to being a Columbine type mass murderer in 1955 but actually got off scott free after killing a fellow student in his college dorm. There was never a trial, for reasons that are never made 100% clear.
Anyway, this man lived 50 years with no one knowing what he’d done. He told his wife a bit, but his two daughters (one biological, one from his wife’s first marriage who he’d raised since age 4) didn’t know and neither did any of this friends or family or co-workers. (He became a prominent psychologist and professor — an irony not really explored in the film.)
In his late 60’s, he decides to come clean and blames it all on bullying. He tries to turn himself into a victim. The film is largely about his daughters coming to grips with finding out their father is a murderer. Chilling how this man shows absolutely no emotions about what he did. Chilling. On the other hand, he went on to lead a productive life and raised two daughters — one of whom wouldn’t even exist had he been tried and found guilty. The film asks a lot of questions about forgiveness and the ability to reform and frankly about sociopathic behaviour…
Anyway… All in all, a good day at the festival. Over the next while, I’ll blog more about some of the films.