Monday, September 20, 2004

Films at Toronto have common ties

It was a kinship of themes and moods. Here's a mere sample of films that resonated:

Lisa Kennedy

"Hotel Rwanda" and "The Sea Inside"

Two of the festival's finest movies are based on real people. Cheadle gives a deeply human turn in the heartbreaking and infuriating tale of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 saved scores of Tutsis. "The Sea Inside" chronicles the story of quadripeligic Ramon Sampedro, who fought to end his life and embrace the dignity of death.

Javier Bardem won the prize for best male performance at the Venice film festival for his moving performance of a man who for 30 years could not move from the neck down. Thanks to the emotionally precise work of their leads, both movies deliver men, not saints, into our midst.

"Moolaade" and "Yesterday"

One comes from Senegal, the other from South Africa. Together, Ousmane Sembene's masterful story about a Senegalese woman who offers four girls protection from ritual circumcision and Darrell James Roodt's tale of Yesterday, a rural woman diagnosed with AIDS, give dramatic voice to two harsh realities facing African women.