Film Scouts Diaries

1995 Toronto Film Festival Diaries
Henri Behar At The Toronto Film Festival: Day 9

by Henri Béhar

Friday, September 15, 1995

As usual, the Montreal Film Festival is pissed off at Toronto. As usual, Montreal's head honcho Serge Losique accused Toronto's Festival of indulging in "false advertising". "You're not the Premier Festival in North America, you're just a Festival of Hollywood premieres," Losique basically said, referring to the increasing number of press "junkets" that studios organize to coincidence with the Festival. As usual, Toronto didn't reply. And as usual, nobody cared.

True enough, there are quite a few junkets happening this weekend. Actor Nicholas Cage and director Mike Figgis have just arrived to present "Leaving Las Vegas", tomorrow a string of limos will go to the airport to pickup actors Denzel Washington, and Tom Sizemore, director Carl Franklin and novelist Walter Mosley who wrote the original "Devil in a Blue Dress" book.

"Leaving Las Vegas" is a pas-de-deux broken souls about life and death. Nicholas Cage plays an avowed, unrepentant alcoholic who's drunk away his family, his friends, his job in Hollywood, and decides to go to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. On the Strip, he meets Elizabeth Shue, a street-smart hooker (is there any other kind in filmland?), who is as keen on surviving as he is on dying. A volatile actor if there ever was one, Nicholas Cage is also one on the most versatile, and Elizabeth Shue proves just as fearless. The film in rough, tough, plucky, uncompromising -- and funny.

Nobody I know went to the "Siskel & Ebert -- on stage!" show celebrating their 20th anniversary, too. We know the drill, we know the shtick, they're probably embarking on a year-long, nation-wide tour, we'll catch up sometime, somewhere. The party at Il Fornello, however, was quite pleasant.

Far more than the "Leaving Las Vegas" one at the Velvet Underground, a bowling alley-cum-discotheque on Queen Street. With typical Hollywood arrogance, the Americans ignored the Canadians' advice and insisted on organizing it all themselves--and don't you dare tell them they don't know what they're doing. Well, "someone" (else, of course) forgot to ask the V.U. to shut down the bowling alleys; "someone" (else, of course) decided to put the cordoned-off VIP section at the far end of the cavernous discotheque, so you'd have to cut through the entire crowd to get there. Brilliant.

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