I grew up near here, but at the time it wasn't near at all; Toronto
was just stations on the TV, voices on the radio, where the Sunday paper came from. It was an hour-and-a-half drive, or a well-planned afternoon on a terrific transit system, and it was a world away. Coming to Toronto for the Film Festival is, for me, always a bit disconcerting -- I remember how awestruck I felt at age 14 seeing the inside of Toronto's retail landmark Eaton Centre for the first time. Bear in mind, the EatonCentre
is a mall with one thing going for it: It is enclosed during winter
. But I was easily impressed. In many ways, I still am, and grateful for it.
never leaves my mind. How could it? I watch the trailers for movies I wouldn't watch in a thousand years and, yes, there's Milla Jovovitch running down Toronto
's City Hall building, as it explodes about her. Or I perk up during a dull action film for two things: Brian Cox and the moment Chow-Yun Fat strides by a Toronto Sun box. Or the music of Broken Social Scene playing counterpoint to Ryan Gosling's imploding life in Half Nelson
. These things crop up everywhere.
Or they do if you look for them, and all Canadians are cultural critics at heart -- early on you're told That culture is not you
. It's not you because it's American, French-Canadian, English-Canadian; spinning the TV dial was an act of cultural roulette. And you went to the movies at a big movie palace, The Tivoli, and for a few dizzy Star Wars-Indiana-Jones-Aliens
years, you would be part of a line that stretched down the block past the funeral parlor.