The Alder Grove

"In my sleep thought that I was standing in an alder grove of the straightest and fairest trees which the heart of man could think of or imagine."

Toronto and TIFF

I love getting up at 3am to get the 5am bus to the city. Aside from the getting up at 3 am part. I do like getting in at a decent time of the morning though. Checked my bags in at the hostel at around 7am, grabbed a much needed coffee then headed for my favourite breakfast spot...Sunset Grill. Leisurely meal, hopped on the streetcar for a morning of hiking around the trails in High Park with my camera. Stopped around noon by one of the ponds to refuel and read some Feynman. I picked up a copy of "The Meaning of It All" at The Strand when I was in NYC for the World Science Festival earlier this year. Very pleasant spot and got to snap pics of a family of Mallards. Spent another hour or so on trails then headed to do some errands and to check in at the hostel so that I could grab a disco nap before changing and heading out for dinner.

It's still really difficult being in Toronto since Saburah died last year. Part of me still expects her to text me to meet for coffee or lunch. She loved going to things like TIFF....strange to do them without her. Not sure that I will ever get used to it completely. It's really hard to adapt to flying solo after 15 years of concerts, movies and foodie events. Even strolling down Dundas brings back so many long conversations. But I digress.

The movie was slated for 9:30pm...I got there around 7:45pm and had to wait for the line to clear for the other TIFF movie. Chatted with some volunteers and lined up around 8pm. Seeing as there was a lot of time, I spent the time chatting with a couple more volunteers and a woman in line who was waiting for her daughter. We discussed the movie, I told them about the premise of it (since there really hadn't been a lot of talk about it, unless you actually go looking for it...because you're a tad OCD and run a webpage for someone). They weren't familiar with Lawrence Krauss so seeing that he's one of my favourite things to talk about I told them about Breakthrough Starshot and some of his other work, ASU Origins...and plugged the Wakelet page. That led us into talking about everything from Proxima to the anthropocene. That's me...geeking it up in the movie line. Luckily, I had a really interesting subject matter to expound upon! :)

Turned out that the whole cast was there, not just Professor Krauss. Even Werner Herzog...which explains why I only saw the good professor while he was onstage before the movie. He was hanging with a pretty cool crowd. The movie was amazing. Very stylized...almost like a dreamscape. Like most of his movies, it's a bit like I'd imagine it's like inside Herzog's mind. It's an eco-thriller about an impending ecological disaster and Lawrence was marvelous playing the evil genius. I was pleasantly surprised actually. There were quite a few moments of humour in the film and Lawrence got one of the first big laughs over a comment about the wheelchair. (I don't want to spoil the movie so I am not going to talk specifics.) Really holds his own in a movie with such incredible talent. His timing was impressive - especially when you consider the 16 day shooting schedule they did this on. Hopefully he won't throw us over for Hollywood after his taste of being a movie star.

And I have to put it out there...seeing him playing a bad guy and toting a gun...kinda hot. Just sayin'. (Hey, he's happily married so let me have my little nerd crush.) Veronica has an amazing section in the last half of the movie with the 2 boys. Absolutely stunning work from her on a breathtakingly barren landscape. But Prof. Krauss *owned* the last scene in the movie. It was completely and awesomely weird. Everything I could have hoped for.

Salt & Fire is a quirky, highly enjoyable movie. But you have to like lots of dialogue, lol. After it was over they did a Q&A. Prof. Krauss was asked about being in the movie and he very eloquently talked about the relationship between science and culture and how both can change the way you see the world. He went on to mention how he was honoured to participate in something as unique and special as this. Werner talked about the cast...when he got to Prof. Krauss he said that all he had to do was "turn him loose". Michael mentioned that the place that they shot the movie was the same place they stayed during the shoot and the bonding they did while they just played music and drank a lot of wine. But my favourite comment from him was when he talked about his intent for his put his arm around his audience and lead them to poetry. That says everything about this movie you could want.