MAD ABOUT MOVIES: Toronto’s 34th annual movie marathon officially opens tonight with at Roy Thomson Hall, but it really kicks off today at noon with
a screening of Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man at Yonge-Dundas Square. Other films unspooling before tonight’s opening Gala include director Lone Scherfig’s An Education, already provoking Oscar buzz for U.K. actress Carey Mulligan; the new documentary about legendary French film director Henri-Georges Clouzot, renowned for his suspense thrillers, and the film he was never able to finish; and Sook Yin Lee’s
Year Of The Carnivore, which is definitely not the opera. (Or Short Bus, for that matter. Tonight’s Gala opener is Creation, director Jon Amiel’s ambition exploration of the life and loves of Charles Darwin, with real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as the renowned scientist and his missus, as he begins to write On the Origin of Species, destined to become the most widely read book of natural science and one which will irrevocably change the world. For a sneak preview, click here.
FOOTLIGHTS: Remember when L.A. was a cultural wasteland? Happily, things change. High-profile thesps set to star on L.A. Theatre Works stages this season include Ed Asner and Jonathan
Silverman in Once In A Lifetime; Kate Burton in The Constant Wife; Edie Falco in Side Man; Adam Arkin and JoBeth Williams in Dr. Cerberus; and Mark Ruffalo and Lauren Ambrose in Awake and Sing (even if Albert Schultz and Soulpepper beat them to it) … Nuala Fitzgerald is set to do one of her dazzling salon solos next month in Toronto to benefit the Actors’ Fund Of Canada. Her new show, Away With Words, is a pastiche of her favourite bon mots and brilliant passages from O’Casey, Yeats, Shaw, Joyce, John Lennon, Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash and even Spike Milligan. For tickets write firstname.lastname@example.org … and the
much-anticipated return of musical comedy showstopper Louise Pitre in Toxic Avenger: The Musical is currently set to premiere on Halloween, Saturday Oct. 31, at the newly-renovated (what, again?) Music Hall on the Danforth. Meanwhile, La Pitre will re-team with her Mamma Mia composers Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaes to headline a Broadway concert vetsion of their new ABBA musical Kristina on Sept. 23-24 at the Stern Auditorium in Manhattan.
Sounds like an extremely hot ticket to me.
A TREE GROWS IN TORONTO: It’s been invited to more than 50 film festivals and received 12 international awards from cities as diverse as Chicago, Taipei, Cairo, Mexico and Iran. This fall it’s invited to the Tel Aviv International Children’s Film Festival, the 7th Istanbul International Children’s Film Festival, the National Archives in Ottawa and the Tribeca Cinemas Kids Series. And chances are you’ve never even heard of it. A short film produced, written and directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Mitra Sen, The Peace Tree tells the story of two little girls, one Muslim and one Christian, who dream of celebrating each other’s festivals, Christmas and Eid, but have to overcome resistance from their parents before they can realize their dream. Filmmaker Sen is currently working on a new project, Under The Same Sun, but since its release in 2005 her film has triggered the creation of Peace Trees in schools and gardens around the world. For more about The Peace Tree and the remarkable seeds it planted, click here.
more TIFF premieres, Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones
and the one-man renaissance of Cheistopher Plummer