Monday, September 11, 2006

Frivolous Festival, or..?

So the big event in Toronto these days is TIFF, or the Toronto film festival. It's an event that reminds my why the flim industry always seems (to me) like one big paradox:

Many of the movies screened at the festival will be described as "exploring human nature" "pushing boundaries", or "examining the self/the world/our relationships". Basically, a lot of these films are creative attempts to help us - and the people who made them - better understand ourselves and our surroundings. They are trying to penetrate our (collective public) brains, make us think about new things, and understand ourselves and our world better. Although not all films screened at the festival are trying to be profound - some are just fun flicks, this is definitely a palpable side of TIFF.

But then... the festival's alter ego seems to be pure superficiality. Most obviously is the crazy celebrity culture: social columnists trying to figure out who will come to TO and who will be a "no-show", people staking out spots outside Roy Thompson Hall and the Sutton Hotel just to get a glimpse of someone famous, and the sudden displacement of world news by movie stars in National newspapers (I'm thinking here of Saturday's Globe and Mail, which had Penelope Cruz on the front cover). For people involved in the film industry, it seems worse: they have to get into the right parties, appear in the right magazines and papers, and wear the right clothing for each event.

So is it really about stimulating thought and discussion - or is it actually just about looks and fame?

1 comment:

Jordan said...

Actually, I think it's mostly about business. TIFF is where the big film distributors have their bidding wars for the un-signed films, among other things... I think a lot of big-name deals get signed.

But yeah, what we see of it is pretty frivolous.