Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

It’s Midnight Madness at Toronto film festival when the fat lady raps

September 17, 2010

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Forget the weighty films about serious subjects in gorgeous settings by award-winning directors that incorporate a healthy dash of subtitles. The Toronto International Film Festival is near-bursting with those.

What some festival goers live for every year are over-the-top films that celebrate the ridiculous, the shocking and the thrilling. Films like “The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman”.

And the best time to soak up something like that? During the witching hour.

The director of “The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman“, Wu Ershan — who was on hand for the world premiere — is the first from mainland China to have a film screened at Midnight Madness, a programming event that has become an honored tradition at TIFF for the last 23 years.

This year’s slogan — a spin on the festival’s slogan — sums it up: “10 wild nights, 11 freaky films, tons of tickets.”

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Really, at a festival that is now touted among the biggest and most influential in the world, when else can you screen a mainland Chinese period martial arts flick that embraces all things outrageous?

A mystical kitchen cleaver as the centerpiece? Check.

Obese brothel madam rapping to a repulsive pig butcher who fancies himself in love with a beautiful courtesan? Check.

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A dwarf and a young man bent on revenge with cooking skills that would relegate an Iron Chef cook-off in Kitchen Stadium to amateur hour? Check.

A Street Fighter-like video game action sequence? Check.

A little homage to the viral Taiwanese animated reenactment of Tiger Woods’ car crash? Check.

By the time the screening was over and the Q&A done, it was 2:00 a.m. The perfect time for a late night snack in Chinatown — if work didn’t beckon early the next morning.

(Caption: Stills from the film “The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman”, which made its world premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. REUTERS/TIFF)

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