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Being at Toronto is like being in spring training. No rest for the weary. Somehow even our own festival doesn’t feel this tirinig, but then again, we don’t watch five films a day at our Fest. By then we’ve seen everything…twice. We are busy running in and out preparing for the next thing. But here we train. Five films in one day is nothing. Matthew once saw seven. Yesterday, here were my five:

I actually slept in a little before going to PARIS JE T’AIME a delightful string of vignettes, I wouldn’t even call them short films, from various directors from Wes Craven to Gerard Depardieu. As someone on the virge of visiting Paris for the first time, I already feel like I never want to leave. The film explores all kinds of love…passionate, enduring, parental, vampiric, etc. amidst a whirlwind tour of each neighborhood in Paris. I doubt Parisians would define their neighborhoods as these clips do, but for those of us on the other side of the pond it was a delightful visit.

In stark contrast, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND is a powerful, if somewhat ficitonal look into the reign of Idi Amin. I remember hearing his name as a kid and learning later what happened, but the film manages to portray why and what we didn’t know when we didn’t know it. A very painful look from the outside but actually within the action. Forrest Whitaker is incredibly lovable and psycho at the same time, and the film marks a breakthrough performance by James McAvoy (also in PENELOPE here in Toronto).

Bouncing back to the Cumberland for CANDY, my day didn’t get much brighter. Despite great performances and an adept script, I have to say addiction films bore me. Maybe, having never been or known an addict intimately I just don’t get it, but the plots get old. I want to quit. I can’t quit. I have issues. I want to quit. I can’t quit. You enable me. I want to quit…blah, blah, blah. I want to care! I do! But somehow I can’t. Maybe it’s just me and my issues that make me insensitive…apologies to all addicts and filmmakers who see something fascinating I don’t.

Again, I returned to the Varsity and all this bouncing back and forth today with barely a half hour in between is exhausting me. SUMMER ’04 doesn’t perk up my day much. Another nod to Lolita, this time in German when a young girl is on vacation with her boyfriend’s family and meets the local returned ex-pat hunk. Usually a fan of plot twists, this one actually ruined the entire rest of the film for me, which up until that time I found extremely entertaining.

7 ANS was a better way to end the day. Again, for some reason I am drawn to French films. This one tells the story of a young wife trying to continue on while her husband spends seven years in prision. She visits him and does his laundry, watches the young boy across the street, and dreams of having her own family some day. Then she meets a young guard who provides some distraction, stunningly with her husband’s approval. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds…or is it? Good stuff.

The weather has taken a turn for the rainy and chilly. I have never seen rain in four years here but the cool weather is a joy.
— Shannon

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