This year's TIFF: Precious, indeed

arts-precious-392.jpg Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is an illiterate high school student pregnant with her father's child in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, which won the People's Choice Award at TIFF 2009. (TIFF)

And thus ends this year's TIFF: the emotionally wrenching Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire wins the People's Choice Award, and Cairo Time gets the nod for Best Canadian Feature.

Precious, a portrait of a 17-year-old Harlem girl who's experienced a lifetime of hurt, is a powerful piece of art, worthy of a large audience and even larger discussion (especially at Oscar time). We found Cairo Time to be a lovely travelogue, with Patricia Clarkson at her charming best, but the flick was a bit snoozy at times.

All in all, the consensus in the Arts Online office was that film-wise, this was one of the strongest TIFFs in years -- a sentiment that was shared in the media at large. (On the gossip front, everyone agreed this year's fest was utterly dreary.) Not only did we get a rich menu of foreign gems (including Applause, Fish Tank, Tales from the Golden Age, Baaria), but Hollywood brought some unusually smart fare, too (Whip It, A Serious Man, The Informant!, Up in the Air).

And with that pronouncement, it's time for us to sign off for TIFF 2009. Thanks for reading.

-- Andre Mayer

Comment (1)

Donna Meness wrote: Posted: 2009/10/07 at 3:32 PM

GRAND JURY PRIZE and AUDIENCE AWARD winner at the 2009 Sundance Film

Relentless, remorseless, and inspirational, this "horrific, hope-filled story" (Newsday) is certain to haunt a generation of readers. Precious Jones, 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child, meets a determined and highly radical teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.

I have read this book, it reminds me of Toni Morrison's "THE BLUEST EYE" in regards to a girl's life in her own words.. but in more modern terms the 1980's & in urban rather than rural setting.

Denzel Washington's film "ANTWONE FISHER", is more closer in character since it deals with sexual abuse foremost but also the internalized generational abuse suffered by
America's "Blue Corn People" ( to use our traditional term )following generations of slavery & the spectrum of learned behaviours of self-hatred.

I understand the film stands true to the book...which is good cause "a people" cannot heal if there isn't any people willing to lance the boil- so to speak.

Kudos to all involved!!