Thursday, September 06, 2007

Toronto International Film Festival 2007 (TIFF) (Sep 6-15)

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is my favorite time of year, no, not because it's wine tasting season in the Niagara, nor is it because my kids go back to school (finally!), it's because it's time for the 32nd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many of the films will be world premieres, including Jonathan Demme's Man From Plains, a documentary about Carter's peace agenda in the years since he was U.S. president. Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter will be present at the screening. The Carters are also the fully engaged subjects of Everything to Gain: A Conversation with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, which will be moderated by TVO's Allan Gregg. But the world premiers do not interest me as much as those movies adapted for the screen from bestselling novels. There are plenty here this time, but the ones that caught my fancy are as follows:
(the pictures and write-ups are courtesy of the TIFF website)

1.The Brick Lane
Sarah Gavron
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 2007

It was one of the most celebrated British novels in years, and it opened a window on a community that lives in plain sight but is seldom understood by outsiders. Now Monica Ali’s Brick Lane has been brought to the big screen in an adaptation as insightful and moving as the story was on the page.

In the film’s breathtaking opening scenes, Nazneen (Tannishtha Chatterjee) recalls her childhood in Bangladesh. Her village had an idyllic beauty, but its oppressive social landscape sent her mother to seek her own death. Nazneen is married off to a man she has never met and flown to London’s Brick Lane neighborhood to meet her new husband...

2.Fugitive Pieces

Jeremy Podeswa

Country: Canada/Greece Year: 2007

Lyrical and complex, Fugitive Pieces builds into a breathtaking mosaic as fragments of the past and present reveal the inner depths of a writer who cannot let go of the ghosts that haunt him. Acclaimed director Jeremy Podeswa powerfully fulfills the poetic intelligence of Anne Michaels’s beloved novel. He brings lush visuals and a sensual approach to Michaels’s beautifully vivid imagery, which earned her the prestigious Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 1997. Rarely have a filmmaker and a novelist been so perfectly matched as in this landmark collaboration between two formidable Canadian talents – or rather, three. Fugitive Pieces also bears the distinction of being the tenth film by acclaimed Canadian producer Robert Lantos to open the Festival.

3.The Jane Austen Book Club
Robin Swicord

Country: USA
Year: 2007

Book clubs are everywhere these days, captivating readers with the imagined lives and loves of ages past. Little wonder, then, that Jane Austen so completely entrances a modern group of friends in the sparklingly witty The Jane Austen Book Club. In the almost two hundred years since her death, Austen has become more popular than she was during her lifetime. Her indelible characters – such as Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse – stand among the most memorable women in English literature. Austen perfected the romantic comedy and continues to be beloved by readers of all ages and nationalities.

So when director Robin Swicord transports Austen’s enduring stories to the sprawling, congested urban setting of Sacramento, California, the leap in time and place seems perfectly apt. Based on the best-selling novel by Karen Joy Fowler, this joyous film portrays six present-day friends who converge at an “all Jane Austen all the time” book club to devour Austen’s six novels.

4.The World Unseen:Shamim Sarif

Country: United Kingdom/South Africa
Year: 2007

Free-spirited Amina (Sheetal Sheth) and the married Miriam (Lisa Ray) fall in love in the 1950's apartheid South Africa and set in motion a chain of events that changes both women forever. THE WORLD UNSEEN, is a captivating drama, based on a highly acclaimed awarding-winning novel of the same title by director Shamim Sarif.


Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi

Country: France
Year: 2007

Persepolis is the much-anticipated animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s acclaimed series of autobiographical graphic novels. Satrapi’s darkly humorous take on her experiences as a spirited young Muslim woman coming of age in Tehran – during the rule of the Shah, the Islamic Revolution and the gruelling Iran-Iraq War – makes for a bracingly original story.


Joe Wright

Country: United KingdomYear: 2007

Adaptations of favored novels are never an easy task. However, Ian McEwan’s bestselling and critically praised Atonement has been brought to the screen by the duo of director Joe Wright (whose Pride and Prejudice was a Gala presentation in 2005) and playwright Christopher Hampton (best known for Les Liaisons dangereuses) with great success. Fully mining the emotional terrain of the novel, the film also effectively visualizes both pre-and post-war British society, as well as the harrowing events of the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation, a key element of the book. Hampton has also managed to find a structure in which to contain McEwan’s extraordinary story of a young girl’s indiscretion, which rips apart many lives and ultimately scars her own.

7.No Country for Old Men:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Country: USA
Year: 2007

A masterful adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s best-selling novel, No Country for Old Men is the Coen Brothers’ finest film since Fargo. McCarthy’s elegiac prose might seem an odd match for the Coens’ smart-ass slickness, but the filmmakers rise to the challenge, turning this tale of a seething psycho killer (Javier Bardem, sporting a comical pageboy do), a world-weary sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) and a drug deal gone bad into thrilling, perfectly calibrated cinema.


jenclair said...

Thanks for bringing all of these to our attention. Brick Lane is at the top of my list.

Lotus Reads said...

You're quite welcome Jenclair! I would love to see "Brick Lane" too and Shamim Sharif's "The World Unseen", but I have been having a hard time getting into the TIFF site to book tickets!

Dark Orpheus said...

Ah, I envy you. I usually have to catch these films on DVDs because they are not always released commercially here. I'm curious about Brick Lane, The World Unseen and Persepolis. Atonement is making me cringe because of the Keira Knightley factor, even if I have heard good things about the film.

Good luck with the tickets - and enjoy!

Lotus Reads said...

Hello, Dark Orpheus!

Yes, the reviewers have had nice things to say about Joe Wright's "Atonement" but I get the feeling it's going to be upstaged by some of the other movies being showcased here, especially Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution" (oooh, I so want to see that one).

Saw glimpses of Knightly on television at the Venice Film Festival, she's lost so much weight, she's just skin and bone!

Asha said...

WOW!! What a great collection of movies to watch.I have the Brick ane book,got to watch the movie! Thanks Lotus:)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Asha!

I really would like to see the movie...the production team, unfortunately, abandoned plans to shoot the movie on the real Brick Lane in London after residents on that lane protested the making of the movie saying they found the book "insulting". Would love to know what you make of the book!

poodlerat said...

I'm not much of a moviegoer, but a lot of those books are on my TBR list, especially Brick Lane and Fugitive Pieces. It's nice to know that if I really love them, there'll probably be a great movie to watch, too!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Poodlerat!

If I have loved a book, I am usually disappointed by its screen version, but whenever I haven't been terribly impressed with a book, its adaptation to the screen usually turns out just fine! I didn't enjoy reading "Brick Lane", so I am hopeful about the movie! :)

Olivia said...

I've finally read one of the books you mention, though it is a movie. JAne Austen Book Club, given to me one Christmas by my best friend.

I see mention of Greece too. I recently saw "A Touch of Spice" which is a Greek movie partly set in Constantinople. As you have told us about the Indian spice movie with Shah, I think you'd like ths one.

hellomelissa said...

"brick lane" is on my audible wishlist. did you read the novel?

Megster said...

I LOVE the way your new blog looks! And film festival update was very interesting..which movie did you like the most?

Radha said...

Im most curious to watch 'Atonement'. How did you like it?

Sanjay said...

First of all thank you for the acknowledgement for the Guardian link on the Polish author post.

Lotus wow! It is indeed time for the TIFF and also wine tasting and for kids being back in school! The TIFF is truly one of the worlds most respected film festivals, I just wish it was a bit closer, although I should not complain, we have a small film festival in our neck of the woods and Philadelphia and NYC are not too far away.
I must confess I have not seen a movie yet that has been based on a book I have read. I wonder what that says about me? :-)

I have to say this is a most wonderful collection of movies. Some of these I hope we can see, on DVD or theaters. I so love your choices I probably would see all of them.

Which of these are you planning on watching? I would love to hear your take on them. I hear “No Country For Old Men” is supposed to be good but very violent?

Maria Bello “The Jane Austen Book Club” is a brilliant actress and has often been seen in edgy, gritty roles. This one is a nice change I suppose.

May I postulate a theory about books in to movies based on your comment to poodlerat? I think books are not restricted by the limitations their cinematic version puts on them (appeal to the general public, length of the movie, the need for cinematic license). So often a very good book that you really may love, just might be not translate perfectly in to a movie, but a ordinary book might surprise you with it’s movie version only because the book never captivated you and the movie never had any high expectations to meet?

I hope that was not a ramble. :-)
Again thank for your lovely post and for telling us about some wonderful movies.

Beenzzz said...

Oh Lotus! How I wish I could have seen all of these. I am really interested in the Brick Lane and of course, The World Unseen! Perhaps I should read the books first. I wish I could get my reading mojo back. I haven't been able to read as much as I would like to ever since I returned from India. Life has been a blur!

equiano said...

Mmmm, what a dreamy line-up of movies! I'd love a week of watching these and I hope you manage to get tickets for at least some! I'll definitely keep an eye out over here for them, Atonement being the only one so far to appear on our horizon. I loved Fugitive Pieces as a novel - will be interesting to see how it is adapted, as for me it was her writing style that made the book, and that can be hard to translate.

Nymeth said...

I didn't know the Persepolis movie was going to be animated. I really want to watch it.

Enjoy the festival!

Jyothsna said...

Thanks for putting this up! I think I'll read the books and my husband will watch the movies - shows where our interests lie! :)

Lotus Reads said...

@Olivia ~ I remember my friend Joanna from Greece also recommending "A Touch of Spice", I am definitely going to take you two ladies up on your recommendation and put the movie on my queue.

@Melissa ~ Yes, I did! It had many weak moments, but somehow I think the movie will fare better.

@Megster ~ Hello and thank you! Actually, the movie I like the most was not showcased here because it is not based on a book. It is from Bangladesh and is called "On The Wings of Dreams", that is the one I really,really want to watch! How are you Megs?

@Radha ~ I haven't seen it (Atonement) yet and am unlikely to do so during the festival because it's one of those "popular" movies and getting tickets and having to stand in line to enter the theatre will just kill me.

Lotus Reads said...

@Sanjay ~ Yes, it's amazing how far the TIFF has come...second only to Cannes I believe. It's a huge launching pad for some of the year's biggest movies, but along with all that fame come the crowds, the difficulty in getting tickets, parking hassles at the theatres (British spelling!) and so on...I'd much prefer a smaller film festival like the kind you have in your neck of the woods.

I must confess I have not seen a movie yet that has been based on a book I have read. I wonder what that says about me? :-)

You mean you've never been curious about the screen version of a book you've read? Maybe that's not such a bad thing. I've usually been quite disappointed by the screen version, especially when it's a book I have loved. I think you're so right when you say that an ordinary read sometimes translates into a good movie because our expectations are usually low.

Not sure I have seen Maria Bello in a movie before, oh wait, did she act in "Maria Full of Grace"?

Thank you and I hope you enjoy your movie festival too, perhaps we should exchange notes?

Dark Orpheus said...

OMG, you're going to catch "Lust, Caution" before me! I'm so going to watch it for Tony Leung, who has not disappointed me yet.

Oh yeah, Keira Knightly - you can use her arms as toothpicks these days. What's up with these Hollywood girls?

ML said...

Yay, it's that time of year again! Enjoy, Lotus!

Lotus Reads said...

@beenzzz ~ Don't worry about your lack of reading...summer is a busy time, it's hard to make the time to read when there's so much work outdoors that needs to be tended to.

@Nymeth ~ Hi! Apparently the novels are richer in political detail but the movie deals more with Satrapi's own story. Should be interesting but I am not sure I like the fact that it's animated... still, I probably won't be averse to seeing it on DVD when it comes out.

@Jyothsna ~ Yes, it's plain to see! :) Personally, I think reading is more fun, but I love the odd movie!

@Dark Orpheus ~ I tried getting tickets for "Lust, Caution" but all their shows are sold out! Waaaa! So you will be seeing it before me, after all. :)

@ml ~ Thank you!!!

Beloved Dreamer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beloved Dreamer said...

My dear Lotus, I am back to post yet once again. As always it is a great pleasure to read your reviews. I have read most of the books you mention. Although I have not seen any of the movies. I will check out my On Demand and Netflex to rent them.
Of the books I have read, I really loved them.
Right now I am still reading Harry Potter(don't laugh) and to your fans PLEASE DO NOT SPOIL IT BY TELLING ME THE END. I screen all email and if I see a post on it, I will delete you but forgive you. Much thanks to your readers. :-)
I will talk to you soon and return as I have missed much.

love as always-bd

Megster said...

Hi again, I'm good. Back to cyberspace now that my family has gone back(: How do you change the masthead for your title? I've tried everything and it just looks strange(:Again, I LOVE your new pic!

Bookfool said...

I love it when you post about the film festival (although I'm always insanely jealous). Atonement looks like it's right up my alley. But, I'll take you to task on saying Fargo was the last great Coen brothers movie because I liked O, Brother Where Art Thou? better. Of course, I'm *in* OBWAT as an extra, so maybe I'm a little biased, but . . . nah, I just like the story. Fargo is terrific, though.

Sanjay said...

Lotus, Thanks for your response. I had not realized some of the things that you mention with regard to the crowds, tickets and parking around TIFF. They sure can be a headache.

You mean you've never been curious about the screen version of a book you've read?.

I am not that well read Lotus.:-/
Of all the books that I have read none has ever been made into a movie.

Here is a link to Maria Bello's films. She was on ER for a bit, she is a good actress. I liked her in "The cooler" and "A history of violence" both rather gritty roles, esp the former.
perhaps we should exchange notes?
I am happy to do that maybe we can do a small writeup on the movies we see?

And since you mentioned Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution". I will get to see it at Bryn Mawr here. It got an NC-17 rating here in the US. link. I wonder if it really is that "hot" for audiences here.

Les said...

Wonderful blog entry!! I'm so excited about Atonement (loved, loved, loved the novel!), but will have to be patient as we usually wait until the movies come out on dvd. I'm also interested in No Country for Old Men, The World Unseen, and possibly The Jane Austen Book Club (which I read, but don't remember too much in detail). Oh, and Fugitive Pieces looks interesting, as does The Brick Lane. I need to make a wishlist when we return from our vacation or I'll forget some of these. Thanks, Lotus. Lovely post, as usual.

Booklogged said...

How long does TIFF run? Are there multiple showings of each film? Is there a central location where the films are shown?

I remember this time of year last year and how envious I was that I didn't live close to Toronto for this event and some of the others that are approaching. The envy is still there this year. I am excited that this year I can recall wonderful memories of your beautiful city which I didn't have last year.

The book-to-films you've listed sound wonderful. Do keep us posted on which ones you see and which are your favorites.

Jyothsna said...

I agree, reading is more fun!

Anali said...

What a great bunch of movies! You may be enjoying one as I write! ; ) I hope you get to go!

Lotus Reads said...

@Beloved ~ Lovely to see back in the blogosphere. You have no fears about hearing the ending of Harry Potter from me, I haven't read it so I have no clue what happens! Enjoy your read!

@Megs ~ Hi again and thank you so much for the nice words on my new blog dress. Honestly, I can't take any credit for it. The lotus picture belongs to Jyoti from Lens Impressions and Sanjay of karmically speaking manipulated the pic (with Jyoti's permission) to create a new header for me. All I did was to send him a copy of my template. So sorry, Megs, wish I knew more!

@bookfool ~ Hello, Nancy! Ofcourse, now I remember, you were in OBWAT!!! I remember reading your absolutely fascinating post about your experience on set...

I hope I am forgiven??? :)

Lotus Reads said...

@Sanjay ~ Thank you so much for the links to Maria Bello's films. I have only recently joined (similar to netflix) so I will definitely have to put one or both of those on my list (you did say they were rather gritty though?) I hope you are having a nice time at the Festival!!! You must tell me what you think of "Lust, Caution" once you see it. It's proving to be quite a draw at the TIFF.

@Les ~ Absolutely thrilled to see you here! You're going on another vacation??? But you only just got back! :) I would see all these movies if I cud, but at $25 (festival ticket prices) I have to limit myself to just one or two. Also, it's so hard getting tickets, for the popular ones, seriously, I am about to throw in the towel..I have been trying for two consecutive days and i haven't been able to get a free phone line at the box office yet!

@booklogged ~ The festival runs until the 16th and yes, there are generally between 2-3 shows per movie and while they are all in Toronto they are spread out between the city's various theaters. Wish you were here booklogged, we could have attended a couple of shows together!

@Jyo ~ I agree wholeheartedly!

@Anali ~ It's so hard typing with my fingers crossed, but yes, I so hope I get tickets! :)

Happy Reader said...

Lovely post, Lotus! I would love to see Brick Lane (I really liked the novel) and Atonement! Which ones are you planning to see?

literary safari said...

i've been keeping an eye out for persopolis, which opens in wide release on dec. 25th. but wow, all these flicks sound amazing. look forward to your reviews!

Jude said...

Thanks for telling me about all these wonderful films based on excellent novels. It's been a while since I visited but I really like the look of the blog- not sure when you redesigned it. It's crisp and clear. Lovely.

Tara said...

Wonderful list of films - I hope you make it to some(one?) of these. I am particularly looking forward to Atonement, having recently read it.

Olivia said...

What is

Lotus Reads said...

@Chitts ~ Hi! Of the lot covered here I was so wanting to see "Brick Lane", but guess what,I couldn't find tickets!!! Guess I'll have to watch it when it hits the theatres! :( I had difficulty getting tickets for the popular movies last time as well, but it was nowhere near as bad as this time.

@Literary Safari~ Hello! It's been ages, how are you? "Persepolis" is due for commercial release only on Dec 25th? Wow, that's a long time to wait! These film festivals really tease us, don't they? :)

@Jude ~ Delighted to see you and thank you for the nice comment regarding my blog's new look. I will be visiting soon.

@Tara ~ It was next to impossible getting tickets for Atonement, Brick Lane, Lust,Caution and some of the other popular movies. I know tickets are being sold on Craigslist etc. but I am not going to buy them at a premium. Will just have to wait for the commercial release.

@Olivia ~ is very much like netflix, a DVD lending library (via the net) in the US. Are you familiar with netflix?

literary safari said...

I just found out about the NY Film Festival in late Sept/early October yesterday. They're showing Persopolis. I think I'll be inspired by you and write about all the movies I hope to see there. Stay tuned!

Id it is said...

The Brick Lane and Atonement are the only two I've heard of so thanks for the post; I'll keep an eye out for these.

gs said...

hi lr
though generally i am not given to jealousy,in your instant case i go green whenever i read your review about a new book or a new do it with such skill,thoroughness,sensitivity, speed and finesse that i would like to call you the "indo-canadian idol"
our friends gerson d'cunha and uma are attending the toronto film festival.if you happen to meet them do say "hi" on our behalf.gerson is a sagely looking man with a generous white beard flowing over his face and cannot be missed out in a crowd.

Lotus Reads said...

@Sandhya ~ You must! I met someone who saw "Persepolis" and he couldn't stop raving about it. Hope it makes for an enjoyable viewing for you, too!

@Id ~ Sure thing!

@gs ~ You do say the nicest things! I don't anyone's called me an Indo-Canadian idol before so I will wear the title with pride, thanks gs! :)