40th Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Nine

Friday, September 18th, 2015 by Ian Evans

There were two gala presentations at Roy Thomson Hall on this, the ninth day of the 40th Toronto International Film Festival.

Julie Delpy wore three hats for the first gala premiere as the writer, director and star of Lolo, a satirical comedy about a workaholic woman who finds love (Dany Boon) while on vacation only to have it undermined by a son (Vincent Lacoste) who is used to having all of his mother’s attention. The film, which was shot over two months in Paris, Biarritz and London, had its world premiere two weeks ago at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.

French comedian Boon said he loved the script from the moment Delpy sent it to him, saying that he laughed out loud when he first read it. You can tell that humour comes easy to Julie Delpy. When asked about filmmaking, she said that a film is like an egg. The filmmaker lays the egg, and it is what it is. The audience either likes it, or dislikes it, or likes another egg better. It’s actually a pretty sane description of what is, after all, a subjective process.

Lolo was followed by Stonewall, director Roland Emmerich’s look at the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village which were a turning point for the LGBTQ rights movement in North America. The film features performances by Jeremy Irvine, Jonny Beauchamp, Joey King, Caleb Landry Jones, Matt Craven, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Ron Perlman.

Even with a film about a marginalized group, it appears that marginalization can still happen. Actor Jeremy Irvine said that he found the trailer a bit misleading as it seemed to focus more on his character, a white gay man, as opposed to showing more of the Latino and black transgender protesters. He put that down to film marketing but assured the press that it wasn’t the case in the film itself. The film’s premiere was met with a protest by a group that said it whitewashed the involvement of transgender people and people of colour and disputed Irvine’s claim that it was just in the trailer. Director Roland Emmerich, openly gay himself, thought he had made an inclusive film.

If film is meant to start conversations, a conversation about Stonewall was definitely started tonight. And that perhaps is one of the roles of TIFF, to start conversations with a wide variety of films, on a wide variety of topics, from countries around the world.