Festival Fury: The 2004 Toronto International Film Festival

LogoSometimes, technology blows. HDTV, smart phones and talking toasters are well and good, but when something fails for no appreciable reason, angry hijinks ensue. About a month ago, I spent nine days in Canada, guzzling films in the cinematic marathon that is the Toronto International Film Festival. That trip was followed by a few other trips, taking up weeks on the road, and then a week spent bloody sick, coughing my lungs out.

So it wasn’t until yesterday, returning home from the junket for The Grudge, that I realized that none of the stuff I’d sent Nick had hit the site. A slew of write-ups, a bunch of interviews with some new genre directors…nada. Lost to the aether.

This makes me pretty mad. It means I didn’t get to break Primer here – that honor had to go to Devin. I didn’t get to pimp House of Flying Daggers (it’s better than Hero) before the New York Times did. And so on.

So here’s a flashback to Toronto, slightly re-structured and edited to reflect the time I’ve had to think about a lot of these films. And there’s a lot of good stuff in here. The one-two punch of oldschool horror that is Creep and Dead Birds. A candid talk with Brad Anderson about The Machinist. True tales of Zebraman and Calvaire. Stephen Chow returns with one of his funniest films, Kung Fu Hustle.

Then there’s everything else. Otomo’s Steamboy, Tsukamoto’s Vital and the Thai weirdness of Rahtree: Flower of the Night. The Korean mystery of Spider Forest and the inscrutable Hungarian-ness of After The Day Before. Asia Argento presages her turn as a Courtney Love analog with The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, and Lukas Moodysson creates one of the hardest films you’ll ever watch with A Hole In My Heart. And there’s much, much more.

That enough teasing? Then let’s go.

Part One: Midnight Madness

Creep; The Machinist; Dead Birds; Calvaire; Kontroll; Zebraman; Rahtree: Flower of the Night; Saw

Interviews: Christopher Smith (Creep); Brad Anderson (The Machinist); Alex Turner (Dead Birds)

Part Two: The Mysteries of Asia

Features: House of Flying Daggers; Steamboy; Vital; Spider Forest; Tropical Malady; Buffalo Boy; Low Life; Kung Fu Hustle; Breaking News

Interviews: Zhang Yimou & Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers)

Part Three: Darkest Europe

Features: The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things; Innocence; After The Day Before; Les Revenants; A Hole In My Heart; Off Beat; Downfall; Five Children & It; Out To Sea

Part Four: Adrift In North America

Features: Childstar; Land of Plenty; Primer; The Brood