I've been here 3 days so far and have seen so much film I haven't been able to fit in a blog yet. So far I am thoroughly impressed with this city and this festival. I got into Toronto about mid-day on Friday and got in 2 films before the night was over. Kicking off my 5-day film marathon I caught the Brazilian feature ONCE UPON A TIME IN RIO. A unique adaptation on the Romeo and Juliet theme, the film is beautifully set both in the favela slum of Cantagalo and 'glamorous' Ipanema Beach and follows the almost fairy tale love story between a young hot dog vendor and a wealthy daughter of a well-to-do lawyer. Cinematography was magnificent - the cinema scope views of Rio from the perspective of the slums were absolutely stunning. Although the story was a little predictable and a little too drawn out, it was still captivating - I'd give it between 3 and 4 stars. Closed out my first day with a stop animation feature called EDISON & LEO. Although technically impressive, the story went all over the place and got me a little frustrated in the end. I'd give it less than 3 stars. I got in a lot more film in Days #2 and #3. I'll be blogging about that in the morning.
-- CHRIS BLANC (TIFF newbie)