Where are the TIFF flicks?
Since I was unable to attend any of the screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), though I doubt any tickets were available for purchase 15 minutes after the showtimes were announced, I am looking forward to catching a few of the films at the Bytowne Theatre here in Ottawa.
It’s a great theatre especially if you’re into old-timey, one-screen theatre houses. Not only do they have the regular projectors for 35 mm film, they have the equipment for 70 mm film, as well. Some of the great classic films, Lawrence of Arabia and 2001: a Space Odyssey for example, are shot on 70 mm, which has a sharper image and better sound quality compared to 35 mm.
Unfortunately, so far the only film that was at the TIFF that’s being screened at Bytowne is Shortbus, which looks like a more graphic and less interesting version of The Oh in Ohio. I was hoping for films like American Hardcore (limited release Oct. 13), Death of a President (limited release Oct. 27) and Pan’s Labyrinth (Release Dec. 27 release size not indicated) to pick up some steam and break out of the festival to wide releases. I guess I have to wait for the DVDs.
Shortbus kicked up a bug fuss at the TIFF for the provocative nature and graphic depictions sex in the film. I guess the filmmaker, John Cameron Mitchell, succeeded in grabbing some attention away from the bigger named films at the Fest. It also brought down a firestorm around CBC radio hostess Sook-yin Lee, who was going to be fired over participating in the films un-simulated sex and orgy scenes.
The use of un-simulated sex scenes has been used in other films to varying degrees controversy: British director Michael Winterbottom used this technique to underline a tempestuous young love in 9 Songs and in Lukas Moodysson’s A Hole in My Heart, graphic portrayals of sex are used both to shock and to enlighten a young man to the world’s morality and human nature.
I know there are people who are going to check out this film because of the sex scenes but for me the prospect of seeing Sook-yin naked and writhing around turns my stomach. My curiosity to see what the hubbub was about always brings me back to this point. I’m sure that makes me sound prudish, but it’s certainly the truth.
But hey, different strokes for different folks.