With the proper resources and time, the average person could easily see eight or more movies in a single day; but at a film festival, that same person needs lucky scheduling breaks (what's playing when, and where) and has to hope that the demands of biology (the need to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom) don't stymie the effort. On my last full day at the Toronto International Film Festival, I tried to fit in seven movies in a single day, which would've been a personal record. Here's how it played out:

8:00 AM … Wake up, after a little less than five hours sleep. Shower. Eat a 3-day-old Tim Horton's brownie and drink half a bottle of Coke on the suite's balcony, where I get the strongest signal from the unprotected wireless network I'm "borrowing." (The two sweetest words in the English language: "De-fault.")

9:00 AM … Scott and I and our suitemate Jim Ridley take the subway over to the Paramount Theater. About a 20-minute ride and a 10-minute walk.

9:30 AM … Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story. Like most Michael Winterbottom films, this comic, post-modern riff on a comic, post-modern novel loses focus, as Winterbottom doggedly grinds through the least of the film's half-dozen premises (having to do with star Steve Coogan's scattered sex life). But Coogan's frequently hilarious, the Shandy-centered material is lively, and while the fake "behind-the-scenes" footage doesn't reveal anything about moviemaking that 8 1/2 didn't reveal first, those familiar beats have an appealing rhythm.

11:30 AM … Romance & Cigarettes. Easily the most batshit insane movie I've seen this year, this experimental musical (directed by John Turturro) has the likes of James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet and Christopher Walken singing along to old songs on the radio while their characters play out a raw infidelity drama. It's indebted equally to Dennis Potter and Jacques Demy, though Turturro's yen for the earthy eats away whatever magic is generated by the lovelier musical numbers. The movie's just so fuckin' vulgar. Walken is hilarious, Winslet gets a couple of showstoppers, and two scenes with a horndog Steve Buscemi really crackle, but the frank sex talk and painfully exaggerated performances of Gandolfini and Sarandon make Romance & Cigarettes a real howler. Bonus points for a haunting final scene, but it's too little and way too late.

1:30 PM … Look Both Ways. A multi-character Aussie drama about middle-aged professionals undergoing varied existential crises over a long weekend. There's some pleasing stylistic touches—most notably the animated interludes that illustrate one characters' anxieties about the dangers of the world—but after the first hour it's obvious that the movie's not going to offer any new insights into messed-up modernity. ("Stick it out" and "Love conquers all" seem to be the bullet points.) And like Shopgirl, Look Both Ways piggybacks on the whimsy and pop-pathos of such established indie auteurs as Jean-Pierre Jeunet (in that the animated bits are trés Amélie), and P.T. Anderson (in that the movie stops for more than one cross-character montage set to a yearning ballad … though the music's way shittier).

3:20 PM … Scurry out of Look Both Ways and run up a block to Indian Restaurant Row, finding the one on the strip that keeps their lunch buffet going to 3:30. Eat some marginally tasty, lukewarm Butter Chicken. Can't expect much fresh food at a film festival, especially not on a seven-movie day. Stop at a Ben & Jerry's scoop shop for a tasty cone. Back to the Paramount, where I buy a coffee drink from Timothy's before the next movie. I don't drink coffee very often. I regret the choice the rest of the night.

4:00 PM … The Squid & The Whale. My favorite of the festival, my favorite of 2005, and pending a second viewing, maybe one of my favorite movies ever. Noah Baumbach's beautifully filmed (with a look drawn from the early '60s French New Wave) and elegantly plotted (like a New Yorker short story) film-a-clef recreates the first few months of his parent's divorce in 1986. Roger Dodger star Jesse Eisenberg stands in for Baumbach, siding with his dry academic father Jeff Daniels while his masturbation-and-tennis-obsessed little brother sides with their newly successful writer mother Laura Linney. This tight little movie contains dozens of quotable lines, dozens of painfully accurate moments, and a genteel sensibility that puts across its rougher side. And dear lord, the music! Pink Floyd, Schoolhouse Rock, Lou Reed's "Street Hassle," the love theme from Risky Business … did Baumbach raid my music collection from 1986? All you need to know about how well the music cues are used: Eisenberg's plain girlfriend has Bryan Adams' "Run To You" playing in the background while they make out, while the girl he really likes is listening to The Feelies the first time he tries to seduce her.

5:30 PM … Hook back up with Jim and our friend Victor Morton for the 20-minute walk from the Paramount to the Elgin Theater (or, as it's always called by the TIFF programmers, "the beautiful and historic Elgin Theater," or, as regular festivalgoers know it, "that nice, huge theater where the sound's always a little muddy").

6:00 PM … The Child. The latest social realist thriller—though that last word is used loosely—from the Dardennes brothers. It's of a piece with Rosetta and The Son, in that it follows desperate people doing inconceivable things, in shaky-cam close-ups. This one's about a young hustler, his playful girlfriend, their newborn baby, and the strange choices they make. As with all Dardennes movies, the action shouldn't be taken too literally. There are all kinds of spiritual metaphors at play, and the characters do what they must to advance them, even if it's not always "believable" per se. Unlike other Dardennes movies, the slow-building tension in The Child explodes into an honest-to-God action sequence. There's a chase scene here as good as any in cinema history, because of the stakes involved, and because of the literally nightmarish scenario the filmmakers have created. This is like one of those dreams where you do something terrible, try to make it right, and get into a bigger and bigger mess. It's the first of their films that I think is pretty much a complete triumph. (Though I haven't seen their earliest work.)

7:45 PM … Jim, Victor, myself, and our friend Missy Schwartz head to the mall across the street—one of Toronto's network of underground malls—for a food court dinner, but the post-coffee queasiness limits my food consumption to a large Dr. Pepper and half of a small order of poutine: the fries-gravy-and-cheese concoction that's one of Canada's most popular homegrown dishes. I start to worry that the seven-movie day will be jeopardized by my light head and gurgling stomach. I press on regardless. Back to the Elgin.

9:00 PM … Sympathy For Lady Vengeance. I saw the first part of Park Chan-Wook's "vengeance trilogy," Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, at a half-full screening in a tiny theater at the 2002 TIFF. At the time I thought the movie was astonishing in its unpredictable shifts from violence to comedy, but this was the year that "cinema of cruelty" classics like Irreversible were all over the fest, and though Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance was undeniably effective, I wasn't sure I approved. I'm over that squeamishness now, and kind miss the sloppy, vicious side of Park, which has been converted into something slicker and less visceral in Oldboy and now Sympathy For Lady Vengeance. I also wish that the slicker style accompanied tighter storytelling. The first hour of this new film is full of all kinds of funny, snappy little bits, but figuring out how they relate to film's more cohesive second hour takes a lot more work than necessary. Still, that second hour is a son-of-a-bitch, as the story of one female ex-con's attempt to bring down the man who set her up expands into a complex scheme, once the full scope of the bad guy's crimes come to light. The last part of Sympathy For Lady Vengeance does what Park does best, making the audience feel disgust and bloodlust and vicarious kicks, and then letting us know the real cost of all those feelings. An effective capper to a series that—to be honest—may have peaked with its first installment. Time to do something else, Park.

11:00 PM … My stomach blessedly settled on its own during the movie, but the lightheadness remains, so I get a can of ginger ale (guess what brand?) and a couple of plain slices of pizza from Amato's, a few blocks up the street. I'm going to get through this. Off to the Ryerson Auditorium ("Home of the incredibly uncomfortable seats!") for a two-hour Takashi Miike fantasy epic. Five minute walk.

Midnight … The Great Yokai War. Miike can be a tough slog even for a viewer with fresh eyes, since he tends to alternate mind-blowing, eye-popping scenes with tedious placeholder scenes. This film features one of his most fluid narratives—about a boy who finds out that he holds the key to freeing an army of delightful sprites from their evil master—but it's still a real grind at times, as Miike carefully sets up the plot in the first hour so he can spend the second hour loosing hell. Even that second hour though is so delirious that people running on too little sleep and too many movies might find themselves asking questions, like "Is that stone wall really walking and talking?" (Answer: Yes.) Given the conditions, it's hard for me to say whether The Great Yokai War is really any good, or if it's just another Miike with cool ideas, meted out sparingly. One thing is clear though: The army of bizarre creatures is wicked awesome. It's like a Miyazaki tableaux reimagined by Sid & Marty Krofft.

2:30 … Back to the suite. Chit-chat with the boys until 4:00. Sleep. Up again at 8. Etc.

There's a festival day in a nutshell. The number of movies is rare. The rest is fairly typical.

Postscript: Up the next day at 8 AM, so that I could squeeze in a couple more movies before my late afternoon flight home. Both were kind of scheduling leftovers, not festival tentpoles, but both were also kind of good. Iron Island takes place on an oil tanker, populated by Middle-Easterners living communally, with a benevolent captain who manages everyone's account and attends to his or her needs. The movie's better when it focuses on the details of this floating society, as opposed to when it tries to develop a plot; but the former mostly outweighs the latter, and there's some rich examination here of the true meaning of "sell out." The Matador meanwhile is a darkly comic buddy story with Pierce Brosnan as a faltering hitman and Greg Kinnear as a middle-class schlub who accidentally becomes his best friend. It mines a lot of the same thematic ground as A History of Violence and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, albeit with a lighter touch and no strong follow-through. Still, it's pretty funny, and has something to say about the murderers we support and the murderers we condemn.

And thus ends the festival. Look for a wrap-up by Scott and myself in the main section in a week and a half. We'll tell you wassup, rockers. Sorry, haters.