More from Michael Moore

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

Barely four months have passed since Michael Moore was beat­ing the drum at Cannes for his doc­u­men­tary Sicko. Now he’s back on the pro­mo­tional cir­cuit at the Toronto Film Fes­ti­val, plug­ging a new doc­u­men­tary, Cap­tain Mike Across Amer­ica. Well, not quite so new in that it re­cy­cles footage from Moore’s 2004 Slacker Up­ris­ing tour, which en­cour­aged young Amer­i­cans to vote John Kerry for pres­i­dent. A bit late in the day to bring that out, you might think, given that the cam­paign did not achieve the de­sired re­sult.

In Toronto, Moore had the added bur­den of de­fend­ing the film against the claim in Variety that “this rep­e­ti­tious and self-in­dul­gent hodge­podge comes across as a nos­tal­gia-drenched van­ity project, with far too much footage of var­i­ous celebs in­tro­duc­ing Moore as the great­est thing since sliced bread”.

While pass­ing over the al­leged sig­nif­i­cance of sliced bread, Moore in­sisted that the movie is not a van­ity project.

Class acts in­tro­duce the clas­sics

Al­though Toronto is awash with en­tic­ing new movies from around the world, it con­tin­ues to hon­our clas­sic films in its stim­u­lat­ing strand, Di­a­logue: Talk­ing with Pic­tures, at which spe­cial guests in­tro­duce films from the past.

This year’s speak­ers are Nancy Kwan on Flower Drum Song, the 1961 mu­si­cal in which she starred; Peter Bog­danovich on John Ford’s 1917 west­ern Buck­ing Broad­way, which had been as­sumed ir­re­triev­ably lost; Ken Loach on Closely Ob­served Trains, Jiri Men­zel’s 1966 Czech new wave clas­sic; Richard At­ten­bor­ough on his 1969 di­rect­ing de­but, Oh! What a Lovely War; Sid­ney Lumet on William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives (1944); Ellen Burt­syn on Martin Scors­ese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any­more (1974), which earned her the best ac­tress Os­car; and Max von Sy­dow on the late Ing­mar Bergman’s The Vir­gin Spring (1960), in which he starred.

Auto fo­cus

The most cov­eted prize at Toronto is the Peo­ple’s Choice Award, voted by the pay­ing pub­lic who turn out in vast num­bers, day and night, dur­ing the fes­ti­val. The award has a new spon­sor this year in Cadil­lac, and a new in­cen­tive for vot­ing be­cause one bal­lot pa­per will be drawn at ran­dom when the fes­ti­val ends. The lucky voter will win a 2008 Cadil­lac CTS, which looks very smart in­deed. I know that be­cause it fea­tures in Cadil­lac’s promo be­fore ev­ery sin­gle movie in the fes­ti­val.

Can-do Kaza­khs

Kaza­khstan be­came a fig­ure of fun at Toronto last year when Bo­rat broke out as a sur­prise hit. Now the Kaza­khs are strik­ing back with Mon­gol, Rus­sian di­rec­tor Sergei Bo­drov’s epic chart­ing the rise of Genghis Khan. Well re­ceived at Toronto this year, the Kazakh-Rus­sian co-pro­duc­tion aims to fol­low Bo­rat into the Os­car nom­i­na­tions.

“Bo­rat was an un­beat­able Kazakh movie, but I think the Kaza­khs now have more of a sense of hu­mour, al­though they were re­ally up­set in the be­gin­ning,” Bo­drov says. “One of the rea­sons we got the money from Kaza­khstan for Mon­gol was that they wanted to show peo­ple some­thing dif­fer­ent about their coun­try.”

Suits you Stu­art

Dubliner Stu­art Townsend looked tanned and dap­per in a white shirt and dark suit and tie when he came on stage in Toronto to in­tro­duce the world pre­miere of his first fea­ture as writer-di­rec­tor, Bat­tle in Seat­tle. Then he brought on the movie’s lead­ing ac­tor, Martin Henderson, who was wear­ing an iden­ti­cal out­fit. As guys are not pushed about th­ese cou­ture clashes, Townsend joked that they were go­ing to do a Blues Brothers rou­tine. Next on stage was Woody Har­rel­son, look­ing rather less for­mal in a col­lar­less blue shirt, red trousers and san­dals.

Townsend fi­nally in­tro­duced his off-screen part­ner, Os­car- win­ning South African ac­tress Char­l­ize Theron, who plays Har­rel­son’s wife in the film. “She put up with me yab­ber­ing about this project for five years,” Townsend de­clared. “I love her to bits.”

In the spot­light:

Stu­art Townsend

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.