November 17, 2011 | By

"It swings!"

There never seems to be a shortage of film festivals, series, retrospectives, and assorted cineastical things happening in Toronto, so here’s a quick tally of the current / imminent events of things to see (and in my case, write about):

Film Festivals on-the-go:

Innis Town Hall:

Canadian Labour International Film Festival (Sat. Nov. 19 – Sun. 27)


Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts:

Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Fri. Nov. 18 – Sat. 20)


Revue Cinema:

Alucine Latin Film + Media Arts Festival (Tues. Nov. 15 – Sat. 19)


Royal, The:

European Union Film Festival (Thurs. Nov. 17 – Wed. 30)


Royal Ontario Museum:

Breast Film Festival (Fri. Nov. 18 to Sun. 20)



New / Ongoing series at the TIFF Bell Lightbox:

Hollywood Classics: The Cinema is Nicholas Ray (ending Tues. Dec. 13)

Icy Fire: The Hitchcock Blonde (Fri. Nov. 18 – Thurs. Dec. 1)

Lars von Trier: Waiting for the End of the World (Wed. Nov. 9 – Sat. 19)

Wages of Fear: The Films of Henri-Georges Clouzot (ending Tues. Nov. 29)


Tied to the Icy Fire series is, unsurprisingly, Grace on the Screen (coming Dec. 15 – 19), which is related to the exhibit Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess, also running at the TBL.

.My mole informs me the Hitchcock films are selling well, and selling out, which ought to please the director up in Heaven, since it proves his films continue to last and entertain audiences decades after their original theatrical releases, and the obvious impact they have on audiences when seen on the big screen.

There are many ways to experience Grace Kelly on the big screen, but perhaps the best is Rear Window, because of an immortal intro shot that probably cemented the actress as a cinematic goddess in my dad’s eyes: as James Stewart woozily wakes up from a nap, Kelly’s soft-focus face just swoops down and centres in on a kiss, smooching the actor, and the audience, or select members perhaps dreaming they were either in Stewart’s shoes, or Kelly was in fact that big.

My preference is the former, because while the latter would mean the Mega-Kelly Head would eat you and you would die, the former means you would enjoy witty banter, and play the foolishly disinterested guy to the goddess. John Michael Hayes was a great screenwriter when under the employ and duress of Hitchcock, and Rear Window presents a perfect romantic couple: funny, frustrated, and grudgingly devoted because someone upstairs (or a screenwriter) felt a connection between a gungo-ho photographer and fashion model would actually work.

Fans who may have missed a few of the Kelly Hitchcocks have a second chance in Dec. and Jan., as the Grace retro runs quite long. I plan to catch – perhaps as a tribute to my dad – the films he mentioned that were always punctuated by a Big Smile. Top of the list is Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, and Mogambo, and maybe High Noon, because that film’s finale is part of a great build-up involving images, sound effects, and Dimitri Tiomkin’s blaring score.

Speaking of Tiomkin, next week I’ll also have a review of 55 Days at Peking, screening this Sunday as part of the Nicholas Ray tribute, and will add a CD review of La-La Land’s new 2-CD set, which features more original score cuts than prior and long out of print CDs. This may be the first time I experience Tiomkin in stereo. Some might advise earplugs, but I counter with the following: a sense of humour.

If the TBL’s programmers move on to Egyptian epics, a Howard Hawks retro, or the fine, fine screenplays of William Faulkner (ahem), my wish is Land of the Pharaohs: big, loud, dumb, and extraordinarily fun, goosed by the most bombastic Tiomkin score ever.

It’s a good dream.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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