La Press at the 47th TIFF | Steven narrates the birth of Spielberg

(Toronto) Towards the end The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film, there’s a scene where one of his high school bullies makes him swear not to say anything about what just happened between them. “I swear…unless I make a movie out of this one day!” replies young Sammy Fabelman, Spielberg’s alter ego, smugly.

Posted at 7:15am

This absolutely charming initiation story, a family chronicle coupled with an ode to cinema, is full of such tongue-in-cheek and mise en abyme. Presented as a world premiere this weekend, The Fabelmans was announced as a Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) “event” for good reason. And not just because Spielberg had never presented a film there before.

Steven Spielberg, the greatest of popular filmmakers, is a brilliant chameleon that transforms according to the stories it tells. This time it’s his own story (or almost) that he’s directing. That of his burgeoning passion for cinema in an eccentric family, from early childhood in New Jersey to late adolescence in Northern California via Arizona, increasing in the 1950s and 1960s.


PHOTO TIJANA MARTIN, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Actor Gabriel LaBelle on the red carpet of the film The Fabelmanson Saturday at the Princess of Wales Theater as part of the Toronto International Film Festival

The young Gabriel LaBelle, an actor from Vancouver, perfectly plays Sam, this brilliant, shy and worried boy with a passion for cinema who makes films in 8mm with the help of his sisters or fellow Boy Scouts. Steven Spielberg was 13 when he won an award for a 40-minute medium-length film in Arizona. Escape to nowhereabout the Second World War.

I showed it to the actors of The soldier James Ryan before filming the landing scene on Omaha beach and they still agreed to follow me! I was the very last person in Hollywood to edit movies. I miss the smell of celluloid.

Steven Spielberg

Spielberg’s portrait of his family is filled with tenderness. His father (Paul Dano) was a brilliant computer engineer who encouraged his son to take up filmmaking as a hobby but hoped for a career in a more “hands-on” field for him. His mother (Michelle Williams), a trained pianist, gave up her artistic career to raise her children.

“You and I are drug addicts of art,” says his great-uncle (Judd Hirsch), a former Barnum Circus lion tamer, who predicts a life torn between cinema and family.

We see in them what Spielberg has become, the genius artist who is passionate about the mechanics of cinema and directing to the point where he imagines filming his parents’ divorce announcement to his sisters, to realize its full dramatic potential. .

“I thought it would be easier [de faire ce film], Steven Spielberg admitted at a press conference on Sunday. I know the story and the characters so well. I found this story intimidating to re-enact even though it is semi-autobiographical. »

I felt the burden of responsibility to account for the lives of my sisters and my parents who are gone. I had no distance to my subject, whereas normally the camera always stands between me and the action.

Steven Spielberg

His parents recently died, his mother in 2017 at the age of 97 and his father in 2020 at the age of 103, which is undoubtedly not unrelated to the fact that today is the making of his most personal film. The pandemic was also a source of motivation, he says.

“I saw the death toll and wondered how far it would go. If I wanted to tell this story, this initiation story of a boy who has very special parents, it was time to do it,” says the filmmaker of Jaw and from Schindlers Listwho will soon be 76 years old.

“It was difficult sometimes. The emotional charge was great. In the end I breathed a sigh of relief and thought to myself: “This is a book I don’t have to write!” »


PHOTO MARK BLINC, REUTERS

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg accompanied by his wife Kate Capshaw at the film’s premiere The Fabelmans at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday

The Fabelmans begins in a naive and childish tone, à la Hugo from Scorsese, which made me fear the worst. But the screenplay – co-written by Spielberg with longtime collaborator Tony Kushner – keeps getting thicker and more interesting as it explores the gray areas. Beneath the fabulous Fabelmans’ zest for life (as Orson Welles would have said) lie secrets and wounds.

Full of tenderness and nostalgia, humor and melancholy, this moving film is both a lesson in cinema and a demonstration of the inner truths and lies of cinema.

“Movies are dreams you never forget,” Sam’s mother said before he saw his first feature film. The greatest show in the world by Cecil B. DeMille (“which traumatized me for years,” explains Steven Spielberg). For better and for worse.

“When I noticed AND., I had in mind to make a film about my parents’ divorce. But there is an alien who has come between us and who has distracted the story! ‘ says Spielberg of his most famous film, which closed the Cannes Film Festival 40 years ago. ANDthe first film I saw in theaters myself – and saw in theaters again a few weeks ago – also had allusions to old Hollywood cinema, especially to The quiet man by JohnFord.

in the The FabelmansSam, who decides to drop out of college and make films, very briefly meets the filmmaker of in an adorable scene The man who shot Liberty Valance (played by none other than David Lynch).

“I’m not going to say what is authentic and what is a reconstruction of my memories in the film,” Steven Spielberg said at a news conference. But what John Ford says in the film is text what he said to me at the time, from the first to the last sentence! »

The Fabelmans is scheduled to hit theaters in November.

They were waiting for Harry

At 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning, with downtown Toronto streets deserted, I passed two dozen fans (mostly female fans) of Harry Styles in front of the Princess of Wales Theater…who was scheduled to hit the red carpet 12 hours later . “I arrived at 6am but there are several who have stayed here! », a young woman told me accompanied by a friend. I tried not to show my deep incomprehension in my eyes.


PHOTO COLE BURSTON, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Harry Styles met admirers outside the Princess of Wales Theater during the film’s premiere my copat the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday.

“The reason I think this story is so poignant is because it’s about lost time. And I think the time wasted is the saddest thing,” Harry Styles said a few hours later during the film’s press conference. my cop. As a matter of fact, Harry…

Less than a week ago, the singer-actor found himself at the center of an unlikely psychodrama centered around this unlikely question: Did or didn’t he spit on colleague Chris Pine during the Venetian premiere of the controversial Olivia Wilde film? don’t worry darling ? On Sunday I took no chances: I sat several rows from the stage…


PHOTO COLE BURSTON, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Actors Harry Styles, Emma Corrin and David Dawson on the red carpet for the film’s premiere my cop, at the Princess of Wales Theater as part of the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday

Harry Styles was featured on TIFF, along with the entire cast my cop, the tribute award for achievement. Michael Grandage’s film, in which Styles plays a gay policeman in love with a museum curator who would rather get married than risk jail time – homosexuality was a crime, particularly in 1950s England – is classic drama, unsurprisingly and without glamour, what will not go down in history.

I can’t say I was as confident as the TIFF executives about Styles’ (dull and unimpressive) performance in what appeared to be a made-for-TV movie, ironically partly shot in Venice. He’s got a nice pepsodent smile, pretty eyes, all the better, buttocks that know each other (and which we can see well on screen), but is his game fair? The jury is still outas they say on Bay Street.

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