TIFF13: First Weekend

This week has been incredibly exciting here in Toronto, to stay the least! The confluence of city-dwellers, and the steady flow of suburbanites and celebs flowing into the city creates a lively, diverse, and creative party atmosphere in the downtown core, which I hear is being referred to as the TIFF Neighbourhood now.  The film festival truly has taken over the large city blocks from Bloor St. to the lake, and whether you're networking or people watching, creative types are everywhere, and the buzz is palpable. 

This week I had the privilege to see three films, all quite different, but all very strong in different ways.

"Le Passe"/"The Past", dir. Asghar Farhadi, French subtitles.
September 5th, Visa Screening Room (Elgin Theatre)

This film, starring Bérénice Bejo featured a fantastic ensemble cast.  One of the great things about seeing a film with an unfamiliar cast is letting each actor actually represent their character, with nothing else clouding my thoughts (which unfortunately happened for me at the "Hateship Loveship" premiere, but more on that in a minute).

The Past is a film which takes place over the course of a few days.  An estranged husband comes home to Paris to finally go to court to finalize his divorce.  For reasons unknown, his wife decides not to book him a hotel room, and he ends up staying at her house in a Paris suburb, with her two daughters, as well as her fiancee and his young son.  The dialogue in this film is strong, and the performances are fantastic, with the performances of Berenice Bejo, and the very young first-time actor, Elyes Aguis.  Ali Mosaffa also did a great job in his role as a central character who ended up really facilitating the relationships between a mother and her children.