The 2022 Toronto International Film Festival has come and gone faster than you can say The Banshees of Inisherin.
Fully in-person for the first time in two years, TIFF welcomed celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig, Jessica Chastain, Kate Hudson, Eddie Redmayne and Seth Rogen back to King Street West — a place where chaos reigned and Harry Styles fans camped outside for hours just to catch a glimpse of the pop star.
Buzzy films like Glass Onion, The Fabelmans and Women Talking triumphed, while Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, The People's Joker and My Policeman made headlines.
But audiences and reporters alike were flummoxed by ticketing difficulties ahead of the festival's 10-day run, with organizers introducing a new system to get people into downtown Toronto's theatres, and some screenings allowing moviegoers in without tickets.
Yup, the famous fest's 47th edition was a star-studded whirlwind of red carpet moments, boisterous screenings and the odd scandal — and CBC News was on the scene for all of it. Most of it, anyway.
Red carpet moments
Movie star behaviour: After waving to the crowd outside, Daniel Craig bolted down the red carpet for whodunit sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery wearing sunglasses, chewing gum and dispensing with questions like a secret agent dodging bullets. But the actor was all smiles just a few moments later, presenting the film on stage before its world premiere.
While singer Harry Styles skipped interviews to pose with his many fans and take red carpet photos (in an excellent green jacket, toting a Gucci handbag) his My Policeman colleagues sung his praises. "I'm very flattered to be the older Harry Styles," said Linus Roache, who plays the elder version of Styles' character. "I'm waiting for him to invite me to go on tour with him."
Sheila McCarthy, a force in Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley's Women Talking, excitedly told reporters on the red carpet that she was wearing her wedding dress: a long gown with a black bodice and dreamy white skirt.
The Good Nurse's Eddie Redmayne said he and co-star Jessica Chastain became very close while filming the medical thriller. The Oscar winners had "known each other socially in which you do in acting … you sort of meet on the sofas of talk shows and you get publicly humiliated together," he joked.
Hugh Jackman, star of The Son, earned some serious "man of the people" points after spending a full 30 minutes talking to fans and then another 30 with reporters at the drama's premiere. (That's an eternity in red-carpet time.) Making his way through the crowd, Jackman grinned ear to ear. How do you say "mensch" in Australian?
The kids of Seaside Hockey — local hockey program for Black youths — gathered on the Black Ice red carpet and excitedly posed for a photo, yelling: "Seaside!" The young team make an appearance in the documentary about the history of anti-Black racism in Canada's favourite pastime.
Working his way down the carpet for war drama Devotion, Jonathan Majors put his hand on CBC reporter Jackson Weaver's shoulder and pulled him close, asking him what he thought of the movie: "Tell me what you think. Right now: 1 out of 10. Go!"
Celebrity odds and ends
Nightmare scenario: Alice, Darling star Anna Kendrick got stuck in an elevator hours before a TIFF appearance, documenting it with relish on Instagram. (It's unclear if the people trapped with her enjoyed the viral moment as much as she did.) The group was later rescued by a team of firefighters who airlifted them out of the elevator's top hatch.
Empire of Light director Sam Mendes, musician Buffy Sainte-Marie, The Swimmers filmmaker-screenwriter Sally El Hosaini, Women Talking composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and the ensemble cast of My Policeman all took home TIFF awards this year.
Kathryn Hahn and Kate Hudson, now co-starring in Glass Onion, gushed on the red carpet about working together in Toronto almost 20 years ago while shooting How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days. The film was one of Hahn's earliest roles and became Hudson's signature role, establishing her as the queen of the 2000s romantic comedy.
Brendan Fraser and Michelle Yeoh are reunited, and it feels so good. The pair who also took home TIFF awards, are both enjoying early Oscar buzz (Fraser for The Whale, Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All At Once). Both were in Toronto 14 years after starring in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor together.
Screenings and scandals
The audience at Roy Thomson Hall broke into cheers when David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet) made a well-timed cameo appearance in Steven Spielberg's semi-autobiographical love letter to filmmaking, The Fabelmans.
French director Alice Diop dedicated the screening of her film Saint Omer to legendary French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, whose death had made headlines just hours before, on Sept. 13.
It's a time-honoured tradition: Films try to win over festival audiences by mentioning the cities in which they occur — but some references fall flat. The Son, in its final scene, features a character who has seemingly moved to Toronto out of the blue. "I love the city!" he insists, but he's not fooling anyone — least of all the TIFF audience, which had a good laugh at the cringe-inducing scene.
It's rare for films to be pulled from the TIFF lineup, but this year, there were two: The People's Joker, a queer film set in the Batman universe, was pulled after its premiere over what organizers called a "rights issue" — presumably raised by lawyers at Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns DC Comics. A mini-social media campaign sprouted in support for the indie satire: #FREETHEPEOPLESJOKER.
The film Sparta was pulled from the TIFF lineup after a news article in German outlet Der Spiegel reported "impropriety involving children" on the movie's set, with Austrian director Ulrich Seidl accused of child exploitation. The director allegedly did not disclose the film's subject matter — about a Romanian pedophile — to the production's non-professional child actors.
During the Midnight Madness screening of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, a Photoshopped montage of Queen Elizabeth fighting the titular character elicited groans from the audience, with the film premiering just 12 hours after her death was announced.
Anthony Shim, the director of Canadian drama Riceboy Sleeps, tells a TIFF audience that he and his casting team discovered eight-year-old, first-time actor Dohyun Noel Hwang through an ad in one of Vancouver's Korean newspapers.