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TIFF’s Day 8: Here Comes the Rain

As bad weather arrives and the fest winds down, critics take stock of TIFF, and two movies come out on top

“Black Swan” and “The King’s Speech” and “127 Hours” have gotten lots of attention, but the best movies of the festival are a less heralded pair: Kim Jee-woon’s South Korean thriller “I Saw the Devil,” recently acquired by Magnet Releasing, and Sergei Loznitsa’s Russian-set “My Joy.” That’s the verdict so far from two dozen critics who’re participating in indieWIRE’s criticWIRE poll, in which those two are the only films to score an average grade of “A.” Coming in at “A-“ are 13 more films, including the three listed above along with “Rabbit Hole,” “The Trip,” Cannes winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” and “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town.”  Canadian director Carl Bessai brings up the rear with the poll’s only “F,” for his thriller “Repeaters,” while screenwriters-turned-directors Dustin Lance Black and Mitch Glazer score “D” grades for “What’s Wrong with Virginia” and “Passion Play,” respectively. (indieWIRE)

I Saw the DevilAfter seven days of surprisingly warm weather with only a few light sprinkles, cold and rain arrived at TIFF on Thursday. And Claudia Puig says the change in the weather has taken a real toll: “Talk to anyone still on hand at the festival as it winds down and you hear the same refrain amid runny noses and hacking coughs. Nearly everyone here is sick.” Guess I got out in time, because I made it through a week with nothing worse than fatigue and sore feet. (USA Today)

The oddest entry in the Toronto catalog is probably “Promises Written in Water,” a film from Vincent Gallo (“The Brown Bunny”) for which the director declined to supply photo stills, a trailer, a synopsis or any sort of explanation. (On the film’s official website, he explains that to supply that material would force writers “into simplistic interpretations to avoid their own shortcomings and the shortcomings of the press in general.” The description of the film in the catalog and on the website, written by festival co-director Piers Handling, contains a synopsis that apparently doesn’t match the film itself – a film, Gallo said recently, that he wasn’t going to even deliver to the festival until the day of its first screening. To nobody’s surprise, Gallo also didn’t show up at the film’s two public screenings, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. As Mark Olsen points out, Gallo’s low profile might have something to do with the fact that he’s been accused of taking over and hijacking another director’s film with “Promises.” (24 Frames)  

indieWIRE has also started a poll in which voters can pick the film they think will win the audience award – and at the end of the first day, the highest-profile Oscar-contending films were on top. “127 Hours” and “The King’s Speech” were tied at the top with 16.5 percent of the vote, followed by “Black Swan” with 15.3 percent. “Rabbit Hole” and “Submarine” also got more than five percent. (indieWIRE)