Toronto International Film Festival Day 5

Posted 13 September 2017

dark river                              

An absolutely packed day the started with a bang.

So far every screening I've attended has been packed out but today's early (and 9:30 ain't that early!) screening of Chris Smith's Jim & Andy: the Great Beyond - the story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufmann with a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton (If I need to refer to the title again I will just use Jim & Andy) was half empty - I'm that sort of guy, glass half empty.. Well people really missed something today. Smith's film is a delirious combination of archive TV and movie footage; much footage from a never-before seen documentary made whilst Carrey was shooting Milos Forman's Kauffmann biopic The Man In The Moon and a recently-shot extended and extremely intimate interview with Carrey. This interview is the spine of the movie which constantly has you asking 'Who is onscreen right now? Carrey. Kauffmann?'

The merging of two comedians and their characters is due the fact that Carrey went off into the deepest depths of method acting and became Kauffmann during the shoot to the extent that Carrey was meeting Kaufmann's family in character and driving Forman up the wall with his unpredictable behaviour. This could have been indulgent and tedious but Carrey's interview is both explanatory and extremely moving and he tells us more about himself than about playing Kaufmann. It was a disorientating but emotional movie and is highly recommended. The Q&A afterwards proved to be unique. Who should be onstage at 11 in the morning but Jim Carrey who gave the half empty theatre a full-blown live show for thirty minutes. Once the Q&A was forced to end Carrey spent another twenty minutes or so just chatting with us. I know this sounds crass but, what an amazing guy. And I got a selfie with him.

Clio Bernard's Dark River is the concluding part of her loose 'Yorkshire Trilogy' after her previous films The Arbor and The Selfish Giant. Her new film (being premiered here in Toronto) is a slice of contemporary Yorkshire Gothic in which Anna (Ruth Wilson) returns to her family's remote sheep farm on the moors after the death of her father (Sean Bean - he is already dead in this one so doesn't have to be killed off as in all his other films). In true gothic style Anna's return sets off painful memories from her family's past as she and her brother (Mark Stanley) have to deal not only with the present-day economic problem of keeping the farm going but also tackle the consequences of past events.

Barnard's film is shot almost entirely in North Yorkshire and is bleak and beautiful but like both her previous films, tragic. In the subsequent Q&A she talked about perhaps tackling a comedy next time. I asked her if the completion of this trilogy meant that she would not make her next film in Yorkshire; she paused and considered for a moment and replied that she found it quite difficult to think of not making her films here.

You heard it here first and Dark River will be released later this year in the UK.

Martin Carter

Principal Film Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, Martin regularly gives lectures and courses at The Showroom Cinema in Sheffield.Read more posts by Martin Carter

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