TORONTO, Ont. -- Sometimes in a smaller theater, away from the searchlights and the 24-hour fans making privacy impossible for poor Brad and Angelina, you find an independent film that is miraculous. Such a film is “Chop Shop,” by Ramin Bahrani, the Iran-born American director whose “Man Push Cart” made such a stir three years ago. That film was about an immigrant from Pakistan trying to make a living in New York with a rented coffee-and-bagel cart. It was shot on a shoestring in less than three weeks, and won the critics’ prize at London and three Independent Spirit Awards, including best first feature. It embodied, I said in my review, the very soul of Italian neorealism.
I have before me a schedule of the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, which opens Thursday and runs 10 days. I have been looking at it for some time. I am paralyzed. There are so many films by important directors (not to mention important films by unknown directors), that it cannot be reduced to its highlights. The highlights alone, if run in alphabetical order, would take up all my space.
Morgan Freeman was tired. He said he hadn't been able to sleep all night. It was the end of the afternoon, and he was relaxed and unwound and in a stream-of-consciousness mood. We set in a Chicago hotel room with a coffee pot. I had come to talk about his new thriller, "Along Came A Spider," but the conversation poked into this corner and that, and took us to places I might not have asked about. Listen to him as he speaks:
TORONTO Sometimes in the middle of the hustle and hype, you find a little film that exists simply because it needs to. Here at the Toronto Film Festival, the hotel lobbies are jammed with celebs wearing the T-shirts and baseball caps of one another's movies. But there is nothing to advertise "The City," not even a free lead pencil with the title printed on it, yet here is a movie to treasure.