Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Top 10 Takeaways: 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' Opens Strong, But Summer 2015 Has Peaked Top 10 Takeaways: 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' Opens Strong, But Summer 2015 Has Peaked Arthouse Audit: Controversy Reigns as 'End of the Tour' Tops Limited Newbies and Weinstein Dumps Jeunet's Latest Arthouse Audit: Controversy Reigns as 'End of the Tour' Tops Limited Newbies and Weinstein Dumps Jeunet's Latest Friday Box Office: Cruise and 'Mission: Impossible' Do Their Part, But Grosses Lag Friday Box Office: Cruise and 'Mission: Impossible' Do Their Part, But Grosses Lag Fall Calendar Reveals Awards Itinerary and Stealth Contenders Fall Calendar Reveals Awards Itinerary and Stealth Contenders Sarajevo Film Fest Lineup Has Auteurs, Cannes Winners and Favorites Sarajevo Film Fest Lineup Has Auteurs, Cannes Winners and Favorites Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (VIDEO) Jason Segel Takes On David Foster Wallace in Controversial 'End of the Tour' (VIDEO) First Look: Cynthia Nixon Plays—and Narrates—Emily Dickinson in Two Films First Look: Cynthia Nixon Plays—and Narrates—Emily Dickinson in Two Films Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies Read Martin Scorsese's Column on His Favorite Hollywood Leading Ladies A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution A Woman in Charge: Warner Bros. Names Sue Kroll Head of Global Distribution Netflix and Marvel Shake Up TCAs, Amazon Rescues Bryan Cranston Pilot Netflix and Marvel Shake Up TCAs, Amazon Rescues Bryan Cranston Pilot 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A)

Toronto International Film Festival, Day Three: 'Violette,' Mystery Doc 'Finding Vivian Maier,' Holofcener's 'Enough Said' and More

Thompson on Hollywood By Meredith Brody | Thompson on Hollywood September 10, 2013 at 12:10PM

There are many ways of threading one's way through a film festival with 366 films, of which 288 are features. Sometimes I envy my friends who are monomaniacs, partisans of Asian or experimental films, or those whose jobs and deadlines dictate which films they have to see. I am greedy and want to see more than I possibly can.
1
"Violette"
"Violette"

There are many ways of threading one's way through a film festival with 366 films, of which 288 are features. Sometimes I envy my friends who are monomaniacs, partisans of Asian or experimental films, or those whose jobs and deadlines dictate which films they have to see. I am greedy and want to see more than I possibly can. 

I am attracted to the latest film from a director whose entire oeuvre I am familiar with, as well as the first film from an unknown talent.  I can be equally thrilled by a big-budget Hollywood movie stuffed with stars and a film shot on video for pocket change. Plus I also want the unique experience: Jason Reitman's table read, or Godfrey Reggio's new film, "Visitors," with its Philip Glass score played live by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

This year TIFF's advertising is based on "what's your Festival personality?": The Arbiter of Taste, The Adventurer, The Record-Breaker, The Stargazer, The First-Timer, #The#Hashtag#Addict -- and there are more.  I see myself in more than a few of their descriptions:  Le Cinephile, The Adventurer, The Globetrotter. (I used to try to be the Record-Breaker, until I discovered that skipping the Midnight Madness screening every night -- the best audiences in Toronto, a guaranteed good time -- noticeably improved my chances of staying awake through the next day's lineup.) 

'Kill Your Darlings'
'Kill Your Darlings'

You could put together an interesting program of literary films -- not just movies based on novels, but movies about writers, such as the Beat generation "Kill Your Darlings," in which Daniel Radcliffe incarnates Allen Ginsberg, Ben Foster William Burroughs, and Jack Huston Jack Kerouac, in the story of the 1944 murder of David Kammerer (Michael C.Hall) by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan); "The Invisible Woman," about Charles Dickens' (Ralph Fiennes) love affair with a much younger actress (Felicity Jones); "The Right Kind of Wrong," about a writer whose ex-wife writes about him on a blog called Why You Suck; "The Great Beauty," by Paolo Sorrentino, about a failed novelist and journalist; "Lucky Them," with Toni Collette as a veteran rock journalist. And there's more.

I can't resist "Violette," about Violette Leduc, a protege of such famed French intellectuals as Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Jean Genet.  Leduc is incarnated in a noisy, desperate, busy, and compellingly self-destructive performance by Emmanuelle Devos, and her encourager, idol, and unfulfilled love object, de Beauvoir, is played by Sandrine Kibirlain, as a paragon of reasonableness, calm, and workaholism. "Violette" never breaks down into the "and then I wrote…" trope of writer biographies; in literary fashion, it's arranged in chapters that explore a relationship, a place, or the inspiration for one of her books. The film has the satisfying effect of making me want to read Violette's books (as well as perhaps someday getting around to de Beauvoir's four volumes of autobiography and "The Mandarins," her novel about her love affair with Nelson Algren.  As soon as they invent those extra hours in the day I need). And "Violette" also satisfies my Francophilic and entirely superficial love of Parisian street scenes, restaurants, and period clothes and decor.

This article is related to: Festivals, Toronto


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.