Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Omnibus films are usually made up of short stories/films tied together by a theme or an event, like an anthology. The most recent kind of these films I saw was Toronto Stories. Following the anthologies of cities such as Paris, New York, and Tokyo, Toronto as a city lends itself with its diversity, culture, and neighbourhoods as a great potential for an omnibus film. Toronto Stories is a great attempt/first shot with Toronto the City being used as itself instead of a stand in for Chicago, New York, Detroit, Washington, Baltimore, London or Beijing... etc.

But the film does have its fair share of shortcomings as well. Throughout the 4 segments of Toronto Stories, the "theme" or linking element comes in the form of a well-dressed african boy who had stepped off into Pearson Airport and evaded customs to enter the bustling heart of Toronto and makes appearances in each segment until we find out more in the final story. This idea could have been executed in a much more subtle way, instead, it came across a bit contrived and felt a bit disjointed in the plots. Some performances were lack lustre, although Sook-Yin Lee as always bare it all in more ways than one and impresses. Overall the films which take place in Riverdale/Don Valley/Cabbagetown, Kensington/ROM/Toronto Reference Library, Vaughn-St Clair West, and Union Station, reveals Toronto as a city with many faces; at once accessible and mysterious, livably bourgeois, as well as raw and gritty.

With that being said, I'm really looking forward to seeing Tokyo! and rather curious to see how
New York, I Love You compares to Paris, Je T'aime (Same producers, different directors).

Toronto Stories (2008)
Directed by Aaron Woodley, Sook-Yin Lee, David Sutherland, and David Weaver

Tokyo! (2008)

Directed by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Joon-ho Bong

Paris, Je T'aime (2006)
Directed by Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydès, Walter Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, and Gus Van Sant

New York, I Love You (2009)
Directed by Faith Akin, Yvan Attal, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner, and Randal Balsmeyer

New York Stories (1989)
Directed by Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese

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