Toronto Film Festival: High-profile releases and under-the-radar films are both satisfying viewing
I always like meeting up with Fred Schepisi, the Australian director of masterpieces as disparate as “Roxanne” and “The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith,” whenever he has a film in Toronto. His new one, “Words and Pictures,” starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, is a rather sweet and schematic comedy-drama about an inspiring, alcoholic prep school English teacher who bemoans the devaluation of the written word in the social media era, and the school’s new art instructor, who really does believe that a picture is worth a thousand words. I asked Schepisi, who as a teenager was educated in a monastery before dropping out, if he was ever fortunate enough to have a schoolteacher who changed his life. He did – a priest who used to play symphony orchestra recordings for his students and instructed them to listen for only the sounds of the clarinet. “It was a great way to cut through and concentrate. As a filmmaker, I think it gave me my eye and my ear for detail,” he said.