Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Toronto Film Festival Diaries
Day 6

by Henri Béhar

Toronto, Sept. 9, 1997

Martini is the drink of the day. Women in Film and Television start shaking it at 8 pm at the Guvernment Club. An hour later, at El-Convento Rico II, the Mag Daddy Kistch-In, hosted by Reel Independence, begins to bubble. The lounge act is provided by the Washed Up Blondes - dedicated executive secretaries by day, go-go-dancers by night. Good-natured fun, but keep your day-job, guys.

Film-wise: ´ Telling Lies in America ' was directed by ´ The Babysitter ' 's Guy Ferland, but it's mostly by, and about, Joe Eszterhas. *Before* ´ Jagged Edge ', ´ Basic Instinct ' and other testosterone-filled scripts. Starring Kevin Bacon and Brad Renfro, it's the semi-autobiographical story, set in Cleveland in the 1960s, of a 17-year-old immigrant from Hungary who falls in love with rock 'n' roll radio. It's a sensitive, perceptive tale of cultural assimilation, hope, disillusion, and survival. Brad (´ The Client ') Renfro is growing up nicely, both as a man and as an actor, and Kevin Bacon is great as the DJ with the silky patter. Time to give the guy the recognition he so richly deserves. Check him out at your video-store, demand that the clerk dig out the PBS version of Lanford Wilson's ´ Lemon Sky ' which he did nearly a decade ago, and start actively wondering why Bacon is still Hollywood's best-kept secret.

Written and directed by Alan Rudolph, ´ Afterglow ' is a gem. A mature, off-beat, lovingly choreographed pas-de-quatre among two couples whose lives intersect romantically. The four ´ dancers ' - Nick Nolte, Lara Flyn Boyle, ´ Trainspotting ''s Jonny Lee Miller and a magnificent Julie Christie - are in top form. It's loose only apparently, casual in tone, but truly heart-rending.

With ´ Keep Cool ', which was denied its Cannes presentation by the Beijing autorities, Chinese director Zhang Yimou turns his back on the ´ period-piece ' style that made his fame (´ Red Sorghum ', ´ Raise the Red Lantern ', ´ Shanghai Triad ') and goes resolutely contemporary. The result elicits mixed reactions. ´ If I wanted to see a Wong Kar-wai movie, I'd go to a Wong Kar-wai movie, ' some scribes mutter.

Flanked by actress (and wife) Rebecca Pidgeon and producer Jean Doumanian, David Mamet dazzles at his ´ Spanish Prisoner ' press conference. Mamet's definition of violence : "In motion pictures, the real violence is not what people do to each other on screen, but what we have to do to raise money." Doumanian smiles enigmatically. Mamet on producers : "The ideal producer is like the old joke about the perfect love : someone who makes love to you until 3 in the morning and then turns into a pizza. The perfect producer gives you the money and says , 'See you at the opening.'" Same Mona Lisa smile from Doumanian. How can you not love them?

Previous Installment | Next Installment

Back to Toronto Film Festival Diaries

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.