Without fail, either during the festival or just as a part of regular business down at the TIFF Bell Lightbox I usually here someone say…”But why are they showing OLD movies?”
As an obvious cinematic enthusiast…that’s actually a hard one for me to answer without getting gobsmacked, incrediulous and downright stupefied at people’s reactions sometimes…but that’s why we went to an expert. In our final installment of this interview series, I got the chance to sit with TIFF Cinematheque programmer Brad Deane as we talked about the importance of having some old movies sprinkled in with all the new ones.
DV: Every year the focus or at least “Sexy” attention always seems to go on to programmes like Galas, Special Presentations & Midnight Madness but what is it about something like Cinematheque where a lot of people may not fully understand the focus that makes it such an integral part of the entire TIFF experience?
BD: A programme that focuses on classic films is vital to any film festival because it provides a reference for what you’re watching. New films, big or small, are informed by the classics. When we put together the TIFF Cinematheque programme, we try to think about how the classic films we’re showing have informed the films of today. With the implicit frenzy that exists during festivals given that there’s a limited amount of time to take a lot in, I think it’s the Cinematheque programme that provides a sort of compass.
Is there a specific mandate when programming for something this or do you have a certain amount of freedom and flexibility to observe not only what is available out there, but what fits thematically as well?
We have complete freedom. As I said, we try to think about how the classic films relate to the contemporary ones. With the ten films that are part of this year’s programme we wanted to honour some films widely known as classics and bring them to new and familiar audiences. At the same time, we wanted to expand on the idea of what is considered a classic film by offering audiences a diverse range of films, ones that go beyond the more traditional focus in the history of cinema, which tends to only consider films from very specific group of countries and genders.
Screenings like Daughters of the Dust & The Battle Of Algiers do seem to fit a thematic theme but I am curious how things like One-Eyed Jacks and Something Wild fits into the mandate during a festival run?
One-Eyed Jacks, The Battle of Algiers, Irma Vep, Daughters of the Dust and A Cool Sound From Hell, in that they are all new restorations. But One-Eyed Jacks also points to a trend we’re seeing with filmmakers revisiting the western genre. Just as Brando does the genre in his own way, we see many new films in the festival this year providing their own take on the genre: Maliglutit (Searchers), The Magnificent Seven, Soul on a String, Goldstone and Brimstone.
If you are talking to a festival goer who typically only goes to the star driven events, how do you sell them on taking a chance on a Cinematheque screening?
The new films in the Festival are among the best new films you’ll see this year but the TIFF Cinematheque programme has films have stood the test of time. Some are well-know classics, while others will be discoveries to audiences. Whether a film is new or old, the purpose of TIFF is to celebrate the experience of watching films with an audience on the big screen… nothing beats that!
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