Today I’m giving away the 1992 Program Guide for the Toronto International Film Festival of Festivals (that’s what it was called then).
It was an incredible year. So many great discoveries for me. I can’t actually include all the movies that stand out in my mind and I still remember vividly. The ones that I think would stand up 20 years later or who’s participants have gone on to do interesting things
Bob Roberts The satirical political semi-musical engaging story that was Tim Robbins directing debut. He also wrote the script. He’s not prolific but I think he was a good director. He’s been directing TV for the last ten years. This was a funny movie, and he got all his big actor friends to play walk-on roles which was a fun part of watching the movie.
Glengarry Glen Ross What a wicked good cast. My clearest memory is of Alec Baldwin eviscerating Jack Lemon. I know everyone else was terrific, but that’s what has stuck with me.
The Crying Game This was a huge discovery for me and everyone else. In those days, you didn’t have to choose your movies in advance, you’d just listen to the chatter and pick up the buzz movies in the lineups. You’d keep changing your schedule to accommodate the movies you were hearing about. By the end of the week my calendar looked like a pen had exploded on it. That year, all anyone talked about was The Crying Game. Amazingly, no one gave away the ending. I loved that old festival-going community, they would never allow spoilers.
Strictly Ballroom We all found out what a whacky exaggerated sense of style, affection, and environment Baz Luhrmann brings to his story telling. He just kept getting better (well, until Australia, what??).
Les Amants du Pont-Neuf An incredibly difficult story about young drifters who fall in love and live on the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris. It was the first time I saw Juliette Binoche in a movie and I’ve tried to see most of what she’s done since. Paris is beautiful in this movie, especially that old bridge, and I think of that story whenever I’m lucky enough to be there.
Reservoir Dogs I didn’t see this in the festival but I’d be leaving a gaping hole if I didn’t mention it for 1992. Every guy I know with even has a passing interest in film has this movie on their top ten list. Sorry, it’s not on mine but I’ve loved other things that Tarantino has done.
Simple Men I may be Toronto’s biggest Hal Hartley fan. Every year, the first thing I do when I get the program is look up the director index to see if Hal is there (I call him Hal, we’ve never met). His first movie, The Unbelievable Truth, bowled me over. I loved his second movie Trust. Simple Men was his third and I loved it too. Sadly, he hasn’t had a film in the festival for a long time. He is a bit twisted and about as dry and deadpan as it’s possible to be, I love his dialogue. Also, he casts incredibly good looking guys in his movies.
And my favourite
Orlando This was like 4 movies in an hour and a half with the chameleon Tilda Swinton playing a soul who is reincarnated through the ages, changing gender, gaining and losing love, moving through war, royal houses, and across continents. The program said it was based on Virginia Wolf’s novel of the same name but I haven’t read it. When I look back now, it was a precursor to Cloud Atlas. Though, less makeup and a quieter approach made this epic story feel much more intimate. Sally Potter directed it and Billy Zane was beautiful (making him likeable again after the frightening creepfest Dead Calm) but for me, the big aha was Swinton.