À la carte: Interview with Winnifred Jong and Sol Friedman


The Cinematic Cities series will conclude with the charming romantic drama The Lunchbox, which takes us on a journey through Mumbai when a mistaken lunchbox delivery connects two lonely strangers, played by Indian mega-stars Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur. The Lunchbox will screen with two local short films. Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath is a portrait of 90-year old Torontonian Razie, who discovers her own cure for social alienation - the internet - and begins to consider one of life’s great temptations, bacon. Milk, directed by Winnifred Jong, captures a comedic miscommunication between granddaughter and grandmother over the family’s grocery list.

TOPS: This year's Toronto Outdoor Picture Show programme is titled Cinematic Cities, a theme that draws bridges between vibrant and complex cities around the world while highlighting the people who make each of these cities unique. Do you have a favourite movie that captures the spirit of a city? Is there a city that you dream of capturing on camera?

Winnifred Jong (WJ): One of my favourite films, City of God, remains a viscerally powerful film that captures one aspect of the spirit of Rio de Janeiro. It's takes you on a gritty journey into the dangerous world of organized crime in the favelas. Because the directors used non-actors, the authentic performances [as well as]the active camera work created a film that is seared in my memory. I am attracted to characters and as such, cannot separate the people from the city. I've been lucky enough to have travelled as a script supervisor and one place I've worked in and would love to capture on camera would be Rome. The combination of antiquity, mystery, religion and FOOD!


TOPS: Winnifred, your film, paired with The Lunchbox, is also about charming miscommunications around food. What do you think of this pairing?

WJ: I'm honoured to have Milk screen with such a lovely film as The Lunchbox. It places an intimate story in bustling vibrant and populous Mumbai using the food delivery "dabbawallas" to advance the relationship between two strangers. The audience gets to see both sides, similarly as in Milk.


TOPS: For you, what makes Toronto a cinematic city? Is there something special about Toronto that you draw inspiration from?

Sol Friedman: Though it's certainly big enough, I don’t know if Toronto is old enough and culturally distinct enough to really be a cinematic city. But we can dress it up to make it look like New York or London and we can build a Trump tower in it and we can send Drake out into the world as our mascot and ambassador and it seems likely that, sooner or later, we’ll get there. In the meantime, I think of the city as more of a blank slate where it can be anything. And that’s inspiring in its own way.

WJ: As a native Torontonian, yes a rare breed, I see Toronto with open eyes. It's one of my favourite places in the world. What makes Toronto a cinematic city is its big city vibe and its intimate neighbourhoods. [What is] cinematic is the diversity of its people and with that diversity of THE FOOD. Cultures mix well over food and the curiosity of Torontonians to try new things brings a smile to my face. I love seeing the diversity at my favourite dim sum house, the diversity of neighbourhoods which continue to thrive, the diversity of people enjoying the city. That is the special of Toronto from which I draw inspiration constantly.

Milk and Bacon & God’s Wrath screen August 30th at Parkway Forest Park alongside The Lunchbox.