Those attending the Toronto International Film festival (TIFF) are urged to drop ballots in boxes after the screenings, and at the culmination of the event, it was the popular “La La Land” that won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award.
Directed by Damien Chazelle, the film is a modern musical riff on the kind of films that Hollywood used to do, but the milieu is an up-to-date Los Angeles with contemporary characters struggling to fulfill their dreams. Like some earlier French films exploring musical style, in “La La Land” performers suddenly break into song. The pattern makes for a different sort of film than the more traditional song and dance musicals of the 1930s and 40s. The victory in Toronto adds to the popularity push that can make the film an Oscar contender.
A host of other awards were presented in connection with the Festival. The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature went to Johnny Ma’s “Old Stone,” lauded by the jury “For its remarkably mature, powerfully rendered portrait of an innocent taxi driver caught in a proto-capitalist China.”
The Canada Goose Award for the best Canadian Feature Film went to “Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves,” directed by Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie. The jury chose the film, “For its uncompromising, electrifying portrait of youthful idealism and democratic exhaustion in contemporary China, and for its capacity to stir both the heart and the mind.”
For the 25th year the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) gave awards at the Toronto Festival. The Discovery Program award went to Mbithi Masya’s “Kati Kati.” FIPRESCI’s Special Presentations Award was given to Feng Xiaogang for “I Am Not Madame Bovary.”
The full roster of awards can be found on the TIFF online site. Reported September 19, 2016.