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TIFF’s Day 10: Trends & Faves

No more industry screenings … but lots of roundups and post-mortems

It’s all over but the pontificating.

Saturday was the first day of the Toronto International Film Festival to feature no press & industry screenings; after nine days of about 50 a day, the P&I lineup eased to a halt on Friday with fewer than half that many, while the next night the public portion of the festival came to a close with Massy Tadjedin’s “Last Night” (below), which stars Kiera Knightley and has as close to a perfect title for a final-night film title as you’ll ever find.

Last NightSurveying the landscape, indieWIRE’s Peter Knegt spoke to Cameron Bailey about what the festival co-director felt was “a turnaround in the sales climate,” with 18 films selling as opposed to only 12 last year.

David Poland, of course, takes a contrary position and says that the media is getting it wrong about this year’s market being so much better than last year’s. He only counts 12 genuine sales, and says only two are significant: Lionsgate’s pickup of “Rabbit Hole,” which will probably lead to a Best Actress campaign for Nicole Kidman, and the Weinstein Company proclaiming that its still in business by submitting a preemptive bid for “Dirty Girl.” Otherwise, he’s not so impressed.

Variety’s Justin Chang and Peter Debruge offer their takes on the festival, noting strong performances by young actors, an abundance of films shot in Michigan, a fair amount of autobiographical introspection, a trend toward stage-to-screen adaptations and the feminist slant of films like “Conviction” and “Made in Dagenham.” Toronto Life then took the Variety story and called it “odd choices, to say the least.” It also described “Blue Valentine” as “lovey-dovey,” which is a blatant misrepresentation of a film that’s ‘lovely-dovey” for maybe 15 minutes total, and wildly antagonistic the rest of the time.

Jeff Wells doesn’t try to spot or analyze TIFF trends; instead, he just gives his favorites, which include “Black Swan” (“the best film I saw”), “127 Hours” (“one of the best acted”), “Let Me In” (“the most surprising”) and “I’m Still Here” (“the most grotesque”). He also includes a hall of shame, which labels
The Conspirator” and “Hereafter” the festival’s “most underwhelming” films, and “The Debt” its most irritating.   

The Ampersand, from the National Post, compiled its own “best and worst of TIFF 2010,” with winners in categories that ranged from “worst movie” (John Carpenter’s “The Ward”) to “coolest swag” (a Julian Schnabel art book at the Weinstein Company’s “Miral” party), with shout-outs to Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Carey Mulligan and Josh Brolin, and dismissals of Jeremy Renner and “L’Amour Fou.”