On Saturday afternoon, I attended the WSFF’s Master Class at the Isabel Bader Theatre to learn more about filmmaking from the perspective of Montreal-based auteur, Jean-Marc Vallée (Café de Flore, The Young Victoria). CTV’s resident film critic, Richard Crouse, moderated the symposium.
Vallée took to the stage to thunderous applause wearing a creepy mask, (which he explained he would don later that evening at The Night Shift screening). He went into great detail about the process of writing and directing films, the subtle use of special effects in his work, and the fact that casting alone makes up 90% of the filmmaking process. The Master Class was both insightful and entertaining, and left me thinking that Vallée is an even better storyteller than I had originally assumed.
Following this enlightening talk, I went home to rest up and ready myself for Date Night at the CN Tower later that day. With the boyfriend in tow, I made my way to the tower to take in a collection of seven international shorts that redefine romance in the 21st Century. These are my top picks:
- TO DIE BY YOUR SIDE (MOURIR AUPRÈS DE TOI): I can truly say that I have never seen a film quite like this before! Co-directed by the incomparable, Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Where the Wild Things Are), this slick, stop-motion animation takes place at the famous Parisian bookstore, Shakespeare & Company. Watch as the love between two storybook characters—one living and the other deceased—unfolds between the pages and on the bookshelves. Delightful, tragic and a little bit naughty, TO DIE BY YOUR SIDE is a highly novel work of art. (Great title, too).
- RHINOS: A lovely little film about two strangers who have a chance encounter and end up spending the day exploring Dublin. The story is charming, the dialogue is witty and the shots are pretty, (particularly, the opening scenes on a park bench and close-ups in the record shop). On the whole, RHINOS proves that love really is a universal language.
- I COULD’VE BEEN A HOOKER (J’AURAIS PU ÊTRE UNE PUTE): Instantly intriguing (for the title alone!), I COULD’VE BEEN A HOOKER pairs a quirky French girl with a simple French man in a tragicomic romance that revolves around a pair of gardening shears. The gorgeous scenery, striking close-ups and final twist make this film a really pleasant watch.
Following the screening, we had drinks and desserts in the sky courtesy of the Horizon’s Restaurant—there are actually no words to describe these sensational sweets—and headed home on a major sugar high.
On the last day of the festival I’ll attend the Closing Awards Picnic at the CFC and the Awards Screening at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Can’t believe it’s almost over!