We always knew Natalie Portman was intelligent (she is a graduate of Harvard, after all), but last night she truly wowed us at the TIFF Soirée . Her responses to Artistic Director Cameron Bailey’s tough questions were eloquent and brilliant, leaving everyone inspired and in awe.

Between sharing what she’s learned from working with a variety of film directors (holy shit, she’s worked with the best!) to discussing the strong culture of French female filmmakers, and which films she is most recognized for (would you believe Where The Heart Is?), guests were treated to a look at her career with clips dating back to her breakout role as little Matilda in Leon: The Professional.


Following the talk, attendees were invited to mix and mingle at Luma. Along with proud patrons of TIFF, Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene and K-OS joined the pre-fest event, as well as several well-known local actors including Paul Amos, Liane Balaban, Natalie Brown, Kristian Bruun and Sarah Gadon, who officially introduced Portman to the stage.


As we meandered around the room, we asked people what they thought of the talk: “Empowering,” “Unpretentious,” and “Wow, she’s done so many films!” Here’s a reminder: Black Swan, New York; I Love You, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Darjeeling Limited, V for Vendetta, Closer, Garden State, Cold Mountain, and even…ZOOLANDER!

For the dawn of TIFF’s 40th anniversary, the TIFF Soirée was a beautiful way to usher in this year’s festival, and recognize the longstanding legacy that the Toronto International Film Festival has built for our city and on an international level.

A Tale of Love and Darkness, written, directed by and starring Natalie Portman, premieres at TIFF tonight at The Elgin Winter Garden theatre.

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