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not so fast, director-boy

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1:27 AM, yawning, rubbing my eyes. Yes, that is the world's smallest violin, playing just for me. The festival portion of my day began a little over 12 hours back, with After The Wedding, a Danish/Swedish co-production that will be the festival closing gala film tomorrow night. It's well worth seeing, for those who haven't yet forked out for Sarah Harmer or those limey fellows on the commons. The picture is directed by Susanne Bier (Brothers) and features Mads Mikkelsen, the future Le Chiffre, villain of the Bond reboot, Casino Royale, coming in November. This guy has charisma to spare, and a certain icy Scandinavian reserve that will certainly suit him when facing off against the new, thuggier Bond. Here he's Jacob, a Dane who has spent the past 20 years or more in India, trying to help orphans. He travels back to Copenhagen to raise money from a gruff philanthropist businessman who invites him to the wedding of his daughter. Turns out, the businessman's lovely wife is Jacob's ex-girlfriend, and guess what---their newly wedded daughter's paternal father is Jacob. This sets up a very mature but intense story about awkward familial dynamics and reunions, shot against the picturesque Danish capital and amongst the upper classes. Not exactly a Dogma film---the anti-flash Danish filmmaking genre---it still uses a lot of hand-held camerawork and doesn't shy away from scenes of high, traumatic emotion, typical of the Dogma movies I've seen. With lots of close-ups, especially of eyes, the film never ceases to intimately engage, and the performances never feel less that real. There is simply no way this movie will get a local theatrical release beyond the festival, so please, don't miss it if you can. Alternately, seek it out when it hits Video Difference next year.

I scooted down to The Delta immediately following to catch the festival awards presentations. I felt a bit sheepish when I realized I'd only seen two of the many awarded films, A Stone's Throw (for best Atlantic feature and sound, collected by director Camilia Frieberg and her children, who star in the film) and Deliverez-Moi (a triple recipient of the acting award to the three generations of women in the film--- good for them, but I think the less I say about that movie, the better, and not just because of that damnable review gag). Cottonland, the documentary about Oxycontin addiction in Cape Breton scooped a bunch of awards, as did the short Punch-Up at a Wedding. CBC dude Rob Crocker presented the inaugural CBC award (for special achievement, presumably) to Trailer Park Boys bigwigs Mike Clattenburg, Michael Volpe and Barry Dunn with a hilarious and very off-colour speech about how popular the word “cocksucker” has been on the show. Frieberg later commented that her three kids, all aged under 10, arrived just in time for the presentation.

Then was the conclusion of The Attack of the 50 ft. Reels at the NSCC temporary campus on Granville. The screening room was full of friends and supporters of the 14 filmmakers, a great atmosphere to be part of. We all learned a great deal about filmmaking, and I'd like to reiterate again my thanks to Norwood Cheek and Walter Forsyth, as well as my very classy actors Anthony Black, Ann-Marie Kerr and Jerry West. Crushingly, my little epic was not much of an epic at all. Somehow the aperture of the camera had locked, so all the exterior stuff was utterly blown out, over-exposed. The middle bit, about a minute, was pretty good, but the dénouement, it was gone. I yelled, jumped up and down and pulled my hair, raging at the injustice. Well, inwardly, at least. People were very nice about it, and a stiff drink immediately following at Tribeca eased my disappointment somewhat. Perhaps I'll reshoot it. I'll be a Cecil B. DeMille yet. Fetch me my riding boots, wide-brimmed hat and megaphone!

Slightly buzzed, I joined fellow blogstar Sue Carter Flinn and her hubby Sean for a stroll down to the Oxford to be part of the full house at Half Nelson. It's the last picture of the festival about which I cannot say much, due to the review gag, but I will say this: it's a character driven tale of a Brooklyn history teacher who, among many off-hours activities such as coaching basketball and hanging with one of his favourite students, enjoys a nasty crack habit. Ryan Gosling shines in the lead, and was assessed by a friend of mine as “yummy.” But then, he has all that sexy capital built up from his role in The Envelope… uh…The Letter…what was that movie? The Notebook. But, I could see him getting some attention at awards season, though I don't think anyone would describe the picture as mainstream, which may work against his chances at, say, The Oscars.

At that point, I almost bailed, but I hadn't been to a genuine festival party since last Thursday, so I scooted back to The Seahorse for the Music and Image Showcase II. I got there just as In-Flight Safety was starting their set, and I think I may have exorcised their big song from my brain now that I've heard it live---it's the one that features at the beginning of every fest movie as part of the festival card. I really dig it, but after 20+ movies, it's been haunting my dreams. The Seahorse was a-bang with festival types, schmoozing and elbows bending. I chatted with a few folks, including Megan Wennberg, who has disappointed me in the past few days by not sticking to her stalking duties. I hadn't seen her since, oh, Monday. She said she really loved Half Nelson. I enjoyed the band, bent my own Crown Royal-laden arm, and made my escape.

Tomorrow is it. Wow, that was quick.

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