My first TIFF experience of the year last night. Which film did I see? NONE OF THEM. See, TIFF has started doing primetime premieres. TV shows premiering at a large scale international film festival seems uncouth, but considering how often people say the words “golden age of television”, is it that odd? I saw the first two episodes of one of my favourite shows, Black Mirror.
If you haven’t seen Black Mirror yet, why the fuck are you still here? No I’m not gonna do a run down for you. It’s some of the finest television in an era defined by enormous budgets and slavish fanbases. Twisted, pitch black sci-fi humour based on terrifyingly resonant premises. Some of which aren’t too far removed from our present environments. OH GOD DAMMIT, you got me monologuing.
The first six episodes of the new season starts October 21st on Netflix. Luckily for me, I’ve a friend who works for TIFF and he offered me a ticket. I very rarely go to the movies, but whenever I do it reminds me just how much I love the experience of a darkened room with a single objective: To pay attention. It’s so gratifying to be absorbed in a narrative outside yourself. It might be easy to binge on Netflix, but I’ll be fucked if I actually pay the same level of attention as when it’s mandated (or you feel dumb not doing so, given that you just sprung for tickets). Seeing such an intricately constructed show in that kind of environment was perfect. The thought of watching two back to back episodes (when each is so rife with complex concepts and ideas) was daunting, but worked out just fine.
If it wasn’t apparent already, there’s no way I’m gonna spoil anything here.
The two episodes were starkly different in tone, meaning it was easy to find the balance. As Netflix is want to do, it seemed like they’d given Charlie Brooker and the crew carte blanche to do things their way. It sure as hell paid off. Excellent acting, directing and technical quality. One episode in particular went to places no other Black Mirror episode has tread before. Both episodes so laden and full that it’ll take until October 21st to get them out of my head.
Not only that, but being a premiere a stack of cast and crew were in attendance. Charlie Brooker himself, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rashida Jones, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mackenzie Davis, Joe Wright, Owen Harris and more graced the stage for a post screening Q&A. I’ve never been so excited for a TIFF Q&A session and judging by the sea of raised hands, neither had anyone else. There were so many people on stage, an abundance of questions and such little time that not everyone got to speak.
This is so frustrating. I loved the episodes so much and now I want only to talk everyone’s ears off about them. When will October 21st hurry up and get here?
Actually, there’s an exact answer to that one.