Decay and decadence: ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Spring Breakers’

Two very different after parties for two not-so-different films

<p>TORONTO, ON &#8211; SEPTEMBER 07: Actresses Selena Gomez (L) and Vanessa Hudgens (R) pose with the ATL twins at the vitaminwater post party for the cast of &#8220;Spring Breakers&#8221; during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festivalat Brassaii on September 7, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images For vitaminwater)</p>

TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 07: Actresses Selena Gomez (L) and Vanessa Hudgens (R) pose with the ATL twins at the vitaminwater post party for the cast of “Spring Breakers” during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festivalat Brassaii on September 7, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images For vitaminwater)

Anna Karenina, adapted from Tolstoy’s epic tale of 19th century Russian high society as it rots from the inside out, and Spring Breakers, a Harmony Korine-directed Bonnie and Clyde-like odyssey set in the bowels of contemporary America, sound like they’re films that are worlds apart. Not surprisingly, their respective TIFF after parties on Friday night couldn’t have been more different.

At the new permanent location of Soho House in the Bishop’s Building on Adelaide St., Grey Goose hosted a celebration for Anna Karenina after its premiere at the Elgin Theatre. Just before director Joe Wright and stars Keira Knightly, Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson arrived, the stars of Imogene, including Kristen Wiig, Natasha Lyonne and Glee’s Darren Chris, attended their party downstairs in the dark and moody private members’ club–think wood wanescoting, quilted leather couches and vintage carpets –while The Master’s Amy Adams and Ambyr Childers, celebrated their film upstairs. And somewhere in between the three parties, Harvey Weinstein managed to sit still for at least five minutes in a plaid wing-back chair.

Kristen Wiig (Getty)

While Joe Wright and Jude Law sat around an oak table, Knightly and her Count Vronsky co-star Aaron Taylor-Johnson chatted with another group underneath the head of  taxidermied moose. And Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Levin in Anna Karenina, not to mention Bill Weasley in Harry Potter, captivated an audience of five in front of the bar.

Keira Knightly (Getty)
Domhnall Gleeson and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Getty)
Jude Law (Getty)

Just after Law snuck outside for a cigarette, where a photographer asked if she could take his photo–“No, sorry darling”–Julianne Moore, dressed in a snug black dress and four-inch high black Louboutin pumps–made her way upstairs. Her friend asked, “Are you going to be okay baby?”

“Oh yeah,” Moore reassured.

After looking around the near-empty second floor room, which has a bar of its own and a table adorned with what could easily have tallied up to be a $1,000 of pyramids of cheeses, mounds of burrata, an entire round of Parmigiano Reggiano, strings of cacciatore and slices of cured salumi, Moore quietly left.

She didn’t go up the street to Brassai Restaurant, where an after party of an entirely different breed hosted by vitaminwater took thematic to a new level: The wardrobe of Spring Breakers’ four leading ladies–who play college friends who rob a bank to pay for a Florida spring break–Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine , consists largely of brightly coloured bikinis. You can guess what many of the servers, who delivered shooters, vodka cocktails with ice pops dunked in them, donuts and burgers, were wearing.

Inflatable beach balls were carefully strewn amongst wine bottles in the glass-encased cellar. There was also a hot tub. And yes, it was filled with girls. In bikinis.


Although actor James Franco, who plays the cornrowed, metal-mouthed drugs and arms dealer “Alien” in the film with shocking effectiveness (never has a character of Korine’s been both so repulsive and charismatic all at once), had just left, Hudgens, Gomez and Benson weaved throughout the room filled with revellers in sky-heel heels.

Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens with the ATL twins (Getty)

While director Harmony Korine, dressed in a suit and brand-new white sneakers, chatted with illusionist David Blaine, Hudgens asked her boyfriend Austin Butler to take a photo of her with a fan. In front of the wine cellar, Gomez had her photo with the daughter of a man who told her that her turn in Spring Breakers, where she smokes, drinks and brandishes a gun, is “a great transition”.  She sheepishly thanked him.

No one could have predicted a Sean Young sighting. The notorious Blade Runner actress, who once tried to win the role of Catwoman by confronting Tim Burton and Michael Keaton in an outfit she made herself (the role in Batman Returns was eventually played by Michelle Pfeiffer), showed up dressed head-to-toe in white, complete with a white fur stole wrapped around her shoulders. Another impromptu audition to woo Korine? (Gossip mavin Lainey Liu, whose insights into the lives of celebrities and the workings of Hollywood are more acute than most, achieved her TIFF nirvana when Young briskly brushed her off.)

Or maybe Korine, the screenwriter of Kids and the director of Gummo, simply has an eclectic group of friends. This is the man, after all, who not only dated Chloe Sevigny, but also had a cameo in Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon.

Walking into the crowd of miscellany, around midnight, was the husband-and-wife directing duo of Imogene, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Polcini, along with stars Darren Criss and Natasha Leone.

And just before 1:00 am, Michael Pitt and Lily Robe, who will both be starring in The First, a bio-pic about Canadian silent film actress Mary Pickford, arrived.

As I struggled to make my exit through a thick crowd of twentysomethings carrying jam jars of vitamin water mixed with vodka in one hand and cigarettes in the other, just as it started to rain, I thought that maybe Anna Karenina and Spring Breakers aren’t that dissimilar after all. Both films are visually sumptuous. And both capture the decay and decadence of two very different ages.