Toronto On My Mind
By far the most interesting, NPR-ish aspect of The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World is the home follow of a young girl who works as a waitress at the restaurant in order to help fund her sister's medical school education. It is during this section that the film digs a little deeper, reminding us of the plight of Chinese factory workers (something I learned all about from listening to NPR) who go to work at around fifteen and use their meager wages to support their poor families. And West Lake is so big it's run just like a factory, and the employees there must deal with the same problems: living far from home, making what is barely a living wage, preparing the Wriggling Snakes Combination Plate for demanding customers. You know. The usual.
Anyway, The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World. See it. This is Nina Totenberg, All Things Considered.
Last year, at TIFF 2007, we also saw ten films. Among them, there was The Film That Made Me Sleep (during India's Four Women, someone's phone rang on vibrate and everyone shushed it), The Film That Made Me Cry (last year's sentimental favorite was the lovely Starting Out in the Evening), The Film That Tragically Disappointed Expectations (I can't believe I ever thought Nothing is Private would be watchable, and I further can't believe they changed the title and thought they could get away with it), and The Film You Thought Would Be Too Weird And Foreign To Love But Was In Fact Totally More Accessible Than Most Hollywood Films But Better (you're freaking me out, Austria. All four of those tropes repeated themselves at TIFF '08.
This year, Patrik 1,5, a Swedish movie about a gay couple adopting a baby, was The Film That Made Me Cry.
Patrik 1,5 is the story of Goren and Sven, a gay couple whose attempts to adopt a child keep getting scuttled because Sarah Palin will soon be America's Vice President. Or something. Even if that's not the reason, isn't it sad to know that, should that day come, I can't even make it better by moving to Sweden? Anyway, the two finally receive word that they will become the legal custodians of a boy named Patrik, age 1.5. But due to a teeny-tiny clerical error, it turns out that Patrik is not 1.5 years old at all, but 15 years old. Which is much older than 1.5. In fact, he's so old that if he were Sarah Palin's daughter, HE'D ALREADY BE PREGNANT.