Hello faithful readers! Yesterday was the first real day of the North by Northeast Festival in Toronto. Well, technically it started on Monday, but media passes weren’t being handed out until today, and it was the first day of bands playing, so for all intent s and purposes, this is day one.
The first thing I want to note here is how nice and accommodating the staff is; I had a slight snafu with getting my media pass, but the staff made sure to help me out personally, getting me my pass with no problems and joking around with me as it happened. It was a great start to the festival.
So, for those of you who don’t live in Canada, North by Northeast is a multimedia festival modeled after the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The big draw is the music part, which boasts around 650 bands that participate in it, but there’s also 40 films being shown and 50 panels to attend, so needless to say, it’s impossible to see even a small fraction of the festival every year. Events run all around the city, but each night has an outdoors “main stage” of sorts that is totally free. They’ve gotten some really good (and pretty unorthodox) bands this year, but main stage shows don’t start until tomorrow night.
I only saw one thing tonight (some of us have full-time jobs to wake up for), and it wasn’t music-related so….sorry about that. There weren’t any bands that I was itching to see, and while I was originally going to just pick a random participating venue and check out whoever was playing there at the time, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to check out a movie at the Toronto Underground Cinema that was part of the festival, so I did that instead.
The film in question was Mutual Appreciation, a movie from 2005 directed by Andrew Bujalski. It’s a black-and-white film focusing in on three friends in their early 20s as they go about their lives. To be honest, there isn’t really much more to say about the plot; this is one of those movies where the individual moments matter much more than the overarching narrative. It’s a relaxed film that eases us into the characters, and the actors all do an incredible of making every scene feel very real, and not in a Hollywood way; the rhythm of the dialogue, as individuals cut each other off mid-sentence, take awkward pauses and stumble over words, feels less like a canned film and more like we’re simply gazing into moments of personal . It’s an effect that can make the movie feel like it drags a bit, but it’s also strangely hypnotic and absorbing. It’s a really unique movie and I’d strongly recommend it.
So, that’s all for tonight; tomorrow night’s main stage is going to be filled with fantastic bands of the punk persuasion, as epic Toronto band Fucked Up, supergroup Off! and hardcore legends Descendents take the stage. Check back here tomorrow morning for the full report.