By John H. Foote

With the wildly loved and overrated Belfast winning the People’s Choice Award, TIFF is in the books for another year. Good for the people who run this massive event, they made it happen two years in a row amidst the COVID nightmare. I applaud their thinking outside the box, but truthfully, I hope everything goes back to normal next year.

COVID and digital home screenings for we critics understandably upset some of the major studios, robbing us of screenings of The Tragedy of Macbeth, King Richard, even West Side Story! Let’s hope we go back to normal next year.

Belfast is likely headed for an Academy Award nomination as Best Picture and it is just not a film for the ages, which is what such films should be.

Some musings: loved The Power of the Dog, loved even more Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer, a performance headed for Oscar glory. Attica was a stunning documentary, Jessica Chastain is astounding as Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, so is Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker. No knock it out of the park masterpiece this year, just that kind of year.

Overall, TIFF 21 was middling, not close to touching the best TIFF of all, in 2007. I so miss the vibe in the city, the madness between screenings at the Lightbox and Scotiabank Theatres, hearing the banter of other critics, watching the rookies navigate their way wide eyed (that was me 30 years ago), and hearing and seeing a film become an EVENT within hours of being screened. I miss the great food on King Street, seeing old friends, seeing former students, just being in that city I love. Years ago, every day before I left to work, me three-year-old baby Ariana asked me, “You going to your city Daddy?”. I answered yes, because Toronto to so many of us is OUR city.

Hope to be there, back in the chaos I so love, next year.

Thanks to Alan and Karen for their splendid work behind the scenes. Great support from all.

See you next year

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