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Toronto Film Festival: Talent, comedy, crotchety directors

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Viggo Mortensen, you will be relieved to hear, also gives good value. (He has two films here: "Good" and "Appaloosa.") Not only did he entertain journalists by playing piano in the lobby of the press headquarters, but he also stood out in the pouring rain for about 20 minutes signing autographs.

The love fest has occasionally been interrupted by real-world demonstrations in the streets protesting governmental cuts in cultural funding. There has also been free outdoor programming, including a concert by Youssou N'Dour, the Islamic Senegalese Grammy winner who is the subject of the documentary "I Bring What I Love." In the movie he says, "People who believe that music is not closely linked to Islam are making a mistake. We talk to God through music."

It would have been interesting to get N'Dour together with Bill Maher, who was in town to promote his wiseacre, Michael Moore-ish documentary "Religulous," which slams all the major religions and a few of the minor ones. "When I was a kid and got a cavity I had mercury drilled into my teeth," Maher, who was raised as a Roman Catholic, said at a press conference. "Then, when I got older, they drilled it out. You can do the same thing with religion." Considering that Maher was sporting a T-shirt for the floundering New York Yankees, he might wish to revisit the power of prayer.

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