The Many, Many Faces of Bob Dylan: Toronto Int'l Film Fest
I feel left out: evidently I'm the only one who doesn't get to play Bob Dylan. Which sucks, since for a while there I had the outlaw 'tache and everything. Anyway, the Toronto Film Festival is in full swing.
The idea of Bob Dylan has become so outsize that the only way to deal with its big-as-the-sky analog sprawl is to break it into convenient digital modules. We do that, usually, by locating Dylan in a specific place and time, by speaking of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" Dylan, or the "Blonde on Blonde" Dylan, or the "Nashville Skyline" Dylan, moving him around like a little pushpin on our map of the past.
Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There" does something different: In this ambitious and extraordinary dream-world meditation on the idea of Dylan, Haynes shows us Dylan's many faces by literally giving him many faces. We see him as an 11-year-old black kid who goes by the name Woody Guthrie, toting his battered guitar through the countryside; a sensitive, beloved troubadour with the power to motivate clean-cut young men and women in penny loafers and bobbed haircuts to change the world; an outlaw drifting through a semisurreal Western town; a blunt, boorish superstar who makes halfhearted attempts to be a family man; a skinny would-be savior in shades who has been anointed with holy oil and is repulsed by the way it feels on his skin.
This is a biopic of an idea, not of a man -- a title card at the beginning reads "Inspired by the music and many lives of Bob Dylan" -- and I'm still not sure how Haynes pulled it off. I only know that I can't wait to see it again.
Basically, film fests exist to get finished films a home, so you'll see "real" movies that have been made by entities other than major studios (which self-distribute), so it's a great chance to be surrounded by "non-Hollywood" fare. Tickets are rarely more expensive than a normal movie, and tickets are readily available to the public. But move quickly, as they sell out rather fast.
If you're into celebrity-spotting, then film fests are a stalking playground*, if you even recognize your favorite stars.
Also, the parties. Most of these are not open to the public, but you probably know someone who knows someone who knows someone who can get you in, and then you can sip free drinks and gobble little sandwiches on sticks whilst you chat with the real power in the business: producers. The guys and gals you don't recognize by sight but who get movies made.
TIFF: Sort of like Cannes, but less French.
* Please don't stalk people. It's creepy and not very nice.
(Jordan has attended the Sithengi Film Market/Cape Town Int'l Cinema Festival as part of a production team, and got to take part in lots of cool behind-the-scenes stuff, though it's far, far less sexy than actually shooting the movies themselves; shooting movies is also, far, far less sexy than watching them- think 8 hours per five minutes of useable film...)