It never fails. Every year, as the cyclone of advance hype surrounding the Toronto International Film Festival (or TIFF, for the acronym-inclined) begins to swirl into motion, a confluence of events falls into order. The timing of MIPCOM, which is connected to the timing of our press cycle, which is connected to the ability to see certain films appearing at the fest – it all adds up to ensure that by the end of our press cycle, I will have slept a grand total of 16 hours over the course of the week (a very mild exaggeration) and will have seen a fraction of the scads and scads of films I wanted to snag tickets for.
Still, that doesn’t deter me from trying, and every year I manage to catch several docs that are worth the proverbial crawl across broken glass to see. And our intrepid writers, avid documentary fans all, also do the same. Thus, I thought I’d turn this space over to capsule reviews of some of our fave documentaries from TIFF to let you know what caught our fancy.
KELLY ANDERSON, STAFF WRITER: The best doc I saw at TIFF was Kim Longinotto’s Pink Saris. The beautifully-shot film introduced me to the world of the dynamic and strong Sampat Pal Devi, leader of India’s female vigilante Gulabi Gang, and the heartbreaking tales of the young girls who come to them for help. Though touching on India’s caste system and arranged marriages, Pink Saris explores universal problems affecting women, which run the gamut from relationship breakups to abuse.
KEVIN RITCHIE, CONTRIBUTING WRITER: First-time director Pierre Thoretton’s quiet, contemplative bio of Yves Saint Laurent and his longtime partner Pierre Bergé in L’amour fou examines its subjects through a probing, typically French existential lens. A must-see for fashion industry watchers, minimalist cinema fans, and real estate porn addicts alike.
As for me, you can leaf a little further through this issue to learn more about the documentary that absolutely enthralled me during the fest, Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams. (For those who’d like to head there now, the story’s on page 29. Be sure to come back here when you’re done.) But I also must raise a glass (or in this case, my handy cup of lukewarm coffee – well, it’s the thought that counts) to Alex Gibney’s latest, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. True, the film does appear to be somewhat sympathetic to Spitzer, who has a habit of likening his downfall to various tales in Greek mythology. But its collection of on-camera interviews, with Spitzer himself and many of the powerful enemies he made during his time as New York’s attorney general and governor, creates a revealing portrait of a man who has been both canonized and demonized, which leads us to wonder what the next act of his myth will hold.
PS: You may notice that my byline appears a few more times than usual in this issue. That’s due to the fact that as we were wrapping up our Global Pitch Guide (which I’d hope you all have on your person every day, just in case), our senior writer Lindsay Gibb informed us that she was returning to school, to obtain a degree that will make her a Master of Information. I’m told that it has something to do with library sciences. On behalf of the entire realscreen team, let me take this moment to wish her well and thank her for her contributions to the magazine over the years.