Niagara Gazette — At every Toronto festival I try to see at least one French and one Italian movie. France’s legendary Bertrand Tavernier, who’s been directing since the early 1960s, after first writing film criticism, made the superb drama “Quai d’Orsay,” which is about a speech writer for a French government official who finds himself confronted by all manner of palace intrigue and the true meaning of diplomacy. I also enjoyed “The Great Beauty” (“La Grande Bellezza”), Paolo Sorrentino’s beautifully photographed drama from Italy about a charming novelist who can no longer write because he’s overwhelmed by a lost love and the enchanting allure of the city of Rome. The movie has been justifiably called “a technicolor ‘La Dolce Vita.’”
Because of a gap in my schedule, I was able to fit in a delightful Irish comedy called “The Stag,” about a bridegroom and his pals enjoying his final fling. Director John Butler’s approach to the subject matter was refreshingly different from how an American studio would deliver this kind of material.
As for Oscar buzz, the loudest was for “12 Years A Slave,” which won the festival’s People’s Choice award. You should consider it the frontrunner for best picture. More when it opens in metro Buffalo-Niagara.Michael Calleri reviews films for Night and Day. Contact him at email@example.com