Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Toronto Film Festival Diaries
Diary #3

by Jason Gorber

I wrote last year about how the Midnight Madness screenings are a fantastic tradition of this festival. As I predicted, seeing the films that get screened late night simply aren't the same with a room full of industry and press people.

Many simply go to the Madness screenings, avoiding the rest of the fest all together. While I don't recommend this, I think its a crime to only go to the comfortable, refined Gala's at Roy Thompson Hall. You are not a true cinema fan in my book if you can't enjoy a Samurai Elvis movie or Mexican Voodoo gunfest flick, to name just two.

So far, two of the best films I've seen so far have been Midnight screenings. PERDITA DURANGO is bent and twisted, but the crowd was right into every irony drenched scene. Where else but Midnight Madness would the programmer proffer authentic Angora for the screening of I WOKE UP EARLY THE DAY I DIED, based on Ed Wood Jr.'s last and favourite script. Part part, part anti-gala, the Madness screenings are composed of films meant to keep you awake. That criterion alone has made for some of the most messed up cinema I've ever seen on a big screen.

Earlier in the day, I caught the restored screening of TOUCH OF EVIL. Janet Leigh herself graced the stage, and she looks as beautiful as ever. Well, maybe not quite. She was awfully pointy in the 50's, but her elegance was a welcome site for this sacred occasion in cinema history.

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