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Toronto International Film Festival: Fewer political movies, more literary adaptations

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The stars, meanwhile, had to content themselves with swag lounges that were relatively scaled back – unless you were an A-lister and could score a Tiffany bracelet. More likely you could get your nails polished and your shoes shined.

Trade talk abounded in Toronto. There is a growing recognition that the Asian film industry is on its way to becoming the most dynamic and fastest growing in the world. Also, after a rather bleak period following the global financial meltdown, financing for independent movies seems once again to be on the upswing. Given the bloated unadventurousness of most studio movies, this is good news.

One big change at this year’s festival was the comparative scarcity of politically themed movies, especially in the documentary realm. This was the festival, after all, where films like “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “The Hurt Locker,” “In the Valley of Elah,” and many others received big send-offs.

Perhaps this is because filmmakers are worn out trying to save the world and are content instead to save a small piece of it.

Amy Berg’s documentary West of Memphis, for example, is about the consequences of a slapdash murder trial in which three Arkansas teenagers, who are almost certainly innocent of murdering three young boys, were railroaded into extensive prison terms. (By copping a plea, all are now released, though not exonerated.) Depp, along with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, are champions of the accused and were on hand at the festival.

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