TIFF: Day 10 lookahead

arts-young-victoria-392.jpg Emily Blunt portrays the iconic 19th century Queen of England in Young Victoria. (TIFF)

Sigh. Sniffle. Yawn. Apply cold water to face. Yes, it’s the last day of TIFF ’09 and intense fatigue has set in. It seems like eons since Matt Damon was here to promote The Informant! But really, it was just eight days ago. Last weekend, hundreds of Toronto movie fans spent upwards of $40 each to see his movie at a gala presentation. Now you can go to your local multiplex and see it for 12 bucks. Yes, things move fast in the movie biz.

Well, maybe not that fast this year. If there was one over-riding theme at the fest, it was the state of the economy. Both on-screen (Up in the Air, Capitalism: A Love Story, Collapse) and off, filmmakers struggled to deal with the downturn. To quote the immortal Simply Red, money’s too tight to mention. Many worthy films haven’t yet found a U.S. distributor, including the opening night Darwin drama Creation – turns out that evolution is still a touchy subject in some parts.

There’s one big premiere to go: the closing night film, The Young Victoria. It’s a gigantic British/German-funded period piece, but unlike Creation, it has some Canadian content, in the form of Quebec director Jean-Marc Vallée. (Click here for CBCNews.ca’s 2005 interview with Vallée about his wildly inventive award-winner, C.R.A.Z.Y.)

Emily Blunt stars, although I can’t quite spot her physical resemblance to the long-reigning monarch. Still, this is a cut above the average closing-night dross. (Does anyone remember last year’s fest-ender, Stone of Destiny? Didn’t think so.) The Young Victoria will likely go down in history as the only film where Martin Scorsese and Sarah Ferguson share a production credit, unless he decides to remake Mean Streets in Manchester for some reason.

And talk about bookends: Paul Bettany, who kicked this whole thing off nine days ago starring as Charles Darwin, plays the handsome Lord Melbourne in The Young Victoria. In an environment as chaotic as TIFF, I’ll take my symmetry anywhere I can find it.

-- Greig Dymond