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Monday, October 19, 2020

CALLERI: In a strange year, the Toronto International Film Festival continues | Lifestyles

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The world of film festivals this year was rocked by the international health emergency. Many festivals have been canceled.

In early September, the Italians organized a highly regarded festival in Venice, which was socially distant and required masks, with movie lovers actually sitting in theaters watching movies.

In early September, the Italians organized a highly regarded festival in Venice, which was socially distant and required masks, with film lovers actually sitting in theaters watching movies. By all accounts, it was a success. The awards were awarded by an awards jury whose president was Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. Venice, founded in 1932, is the oldest film festival in the world.

The celebrated New York City film festival, which is now underway, is a virtual experience with movie fans paying for and watching streaming options from the comfort of their home, as well as drive-in experiences.

The just-concluded 45th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was a hybrid of virtual streaming and in-person screenings at the five-screen Bell Lightbox film complex and a handful of other venues, including drive-in options. Since the Americans couldn’t cross the border to participate, it was a decidedly Canadian affair.

Fifty films were scheduled and available for viewing by festival goers and the media. The epic TIFF event usually shows up to 300 feature films and short films. There were also special round tables and conversations with directors, all held virtually.

The TIFF digital program used to show the films to the press and the public was outstanding. I had no problem looking at my selections. The image was immaculate. The perfect sound.

The prizes were awarded and the People’s Choice Award, voted for by ticket buyers, (both in person and virtual) was “Nomadland,” starring Frances McDormand as a 60-year-old woman losing her job in a Nevada plaster factory. and joins a seemingly never-ending parade of vagrants traveling through the southwest and mountain states in vans or RVs looking for work and developing a special camaraderie.

People’s Choice honor is often a precursor to Academy Award attention, and there’s a loud rumor that McDormand will win her third Oscar for Best Actress for her characterization of the lonely, taciturn and stubborn Fern, a woman. which, ironically, consider the name of the award, does not need people.

“Nomadland” was one of my first selections, and while I believe McDormand will be nominated, it’s not an Academy Award winning performance. In fact, he has already played similar characters in “Fargo” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” his Oscar-winning roles.

The film, directed by Chloe Zhao, is a deliberate study of a certain breed of people who have to work to survive and prefer the open road. Too many roles are played by non-professionals and this gimmick causes the occasionally boring film to falter.

Zhao has done this kind of casting before and it didn’t work on “The Rider”, which was a boring rodeo attempt, and it works less well on “Nomadland”. For one person, the characters are bizarre and you need professionals to capture and convey the true spirit of those who don’t quite fit in.

David Strathairn comes across as a possible love interest in Fern and you are grateful to see a true professional and a great actor. “Nomadland” is about members of society marching for a different drummer. What it lacked in substance, it made up for in the atmosphere. The vehicles meander through empty landscape vistas, which however, once seen, don’t need to be observed as often as they are.

The open road is also a feature of “Good Joe Bell,” a powerful drama starring Mark Wahlberg as Joe Bell, the Oregon father of a gay son, a teenager who committed suicide due to bullying. An Oscar nomination for Best Actor could be in Wahlberg’s future, as well as a supportive nod for Reid Miller, who is a true acting breakthrough as Jadin Bell, the teenager who is emotionally crushed by twisted behavior. of his classmates.

Wahlberg has never been more empathetic, and Miller captures the spirit of a child who stands out, not because he wants it, but because society seems to be asking for it.

The story being told is true. Joe Bell decided to travel across the United States to talk about bullying to anyone who wanted to hear him. The film is beautifully directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and cleverly written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, who shared the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Brokeback Mountain”.

The sincere and well-performed “Good Joe Bell” packs an emotional punch.

“Inconvenient Indian” is a serious study on the treatment of the indigenous people of North America, especially those of Canada. The documentary examines the role played by Hollywood films and television in how Indians were perceived by Americans and Canadians.

Directed by Michelle Latimer, the film started a little out of place for me and a little slow; his directing style was erratic, but he decided to tell his important story, which grew stronger as it unfolded.

The film captures the spirit of respect for the environment of the natives and is adamant in expressing the culture and courage of the tribes abused by governments. It won the People’s Choice Documentary Award and was named Best Canadian Film.

Other TIFF films that I enjoyed in total were: “Pieces Of A Woman”, “American Utopia” by David Byrne, “Saint-Narcisse”, “Lacci” (“The Ties”), “Summer Of 85” and “A Good Man. ” Less successful, but watchable, were “The Truffle Hunters” and “One Night In Miami”. “Concrete Cowboy” didn’t work for me.

Michael Calleri reviews films for the Niagara Gazette and the CNHI news network. Contact him at moviecolumn@gmail.com.

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