No one can say the Toronto International Film Festival doesn’t spread a wide net. TIFF’s spring offerings include a retrospective of films by the great Québécois director Michel Brault, the Canadian premiere of a “lost” silent film by Orson Welles, and more Internet cat videos than you may want to admit having seen.
Yes, TIFF has gone all kittenish over a mostly solitary, if widely shared, type of connoisseurship. No doubt TIFF programmers were impressed by the 10,000 people who showed up in a Minneapolis field for the Walker Art Centre’s first Internet Cat Video Festival in 2012. The Walker projected its videos on a giant outdoor screen, gave out Oscar-like awards, and got scads of international media coverage.
In fact, TIFF’s Just for Cats: Internet Cat Video Festival is the Walker program on tour, with “cat foster-mom” and prime ministerial wife Laureen Harper as guest host. The festival, at the Bell Lightbox on April 17, will also visit Saskatoon, Montreal, Vancouver and Regina.
Five films by Brault, an early master of cinéma vérité who died last September, will be shown April 17-22, including his October Crisis docudrama Les Ordres (1974), for which he won a Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival. A live-music screening of Welles’s rediscovered Too Much Johnson (1938) will be bookended by four better-known Welles films (May 9-13).