Variety on TIFF: the Hollywood paper names six trends from the film festival

Variety on TIFF: the Hollywood paper names six trends from the film festival

As the din of snapping cameras and movie buzz dies down in Toronto, cineastes south of the border are weighing in on how this year’s TIFF stacked up to previous years (note: the festival doesn’t officially end until Sunday). This morning, the famous film industry trade journal Variety doled out its rating. The reactions of writers Justin Chang and Peter Debruge are mixed, but what really piqued our interest were some of the trends they noticed. “Emotional” films? A pro-Michigan agenda? Odd choices, to say the least. Here, a run down of the six trends in TIFF’s first major review.

1. Canadian films can be both good and bad
“If Toronto has taught us anything over the years, it’s to be wary of the Canadian-made feature,” the authors write. Okay, they have a point. But we’re getting better—and Variety agrees, citing Incendies, Heartbeats, The Whistleblower and Barney’s Version as show-off works from The Great White North. (Score: A Hockey Musical, not so much.)

2. TIFF’s full of young ‘uns
Apparently TIFF is good at showcasing the precocious, as “some of the strongest performances came from thesps in their 20s and 30s.” Were we specializing in old timers before?

3. The films are “emotional”
We had lovey-dovey (Blue Valentine), inspiring (The Way), endearing (Let Me In, Beginners) and sad (Never Let Me Go). Glad to hear TIFF hasn’t succumbed to the Botox stoicism Variety has observed at other festivals.

4. Toronto caters to Michigan and Asia
Sure, the former provides the backdrop to Stone, Conviction, Trust and Vanishing on 7th Street, but the latter didn’t seem to make it into too many TIFF selections (except, of course, this year’s Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives).

5. There’s too much theatre
Many films this year drew from—of all things—plays. See: Rabbit Hole, Potiche, Incendies.

6. Ziga-ziga ah
The best trend of all, though, was the abundance of “girl power” (yes, they did use those exact words). Feminist prowess was on offer in Conviction, Made in Dagenham and The Whistleblower.

Hitting highs and lows at Toronto [Variety]