TIFF, the Final Roundup

So it’s been just over a month since the Festival of Festivals ended for me, not with a bang but with a lengthy chest cold that just wouldn’t quit. The B12 shot that I had obtained prior to the festival was no match for the brutality inflicted upon my person by the dreaded ‘Welcome to Fall, Bitches’ cold. Symptoms include endless whining, raspy throat, lack of patience, a nose that is alternatively dry and runny as well as a total lack of appetite for anything other than mint tea. So yeah, it was a bit of a rough way to spend eleven days.

However, despite experiencing the most difficult scheduling in my 5 years of TIFF with regards to my position, having some films of choice being subtitle-less, starting late, cancelled and moved to smaller theatres (causing my rushing the film to be redundant) I saw sixteen films. While I didn’t beat my record of twenty from last year, I did surpass previous years as I didn’t sleep through anything, didn’t walk out of anything and the ‘worst’ grade I’d give a film would be a 2.5 out of 4. So all in all, faaaabulous.

While I’ve previously blurbed about my first eight films, allow me to continue with my last eight films. How odd that my only attempt to blog during the festival was literally at my half-way point.

9. Kaboom – College kids (with way more tattoos and strong opinions than any 18 year old I ever knew) having sex, with pretty much everybody (sexuality non specific!), with witchcraft (?) and the apocalypse? Araki films are usually a little unconventional but this one took the cake. Juno Temple is a fricking delight and I am actively seeking out her work now.
10. Red Nights – This film has bondage, a dragon lady, an imperceptibly guile French assassin, jade nails, a weird Red Shoe Diaries aesthetic, guns, magic elixirs and a fantastic martini recipe. Other than that, I’m not entirely convinced it was a good film but so…many..tropes!!
11. A Horrible Way to Die This was purely a ‘Hey! This fits in my schedule’ kind of film that really blew me away. A touch of ‘mumblecore’ (I hate that word, but it’s apt) the story follows the mental recovery of a woman who’s partner turned out to be a crazy serial killer, maiming and murdering women left and right, so she turned him in. Except that he was Prince Charming to her and has now escaped prison..to find her? Eeep.
12. Pinoy Sunday A super charming film about two Filipino labourers in Taiwan and their (mis)adventures on their day off as they try to lug a couch from downtown to the compound they work at. But it’s about so much more!
13. The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman This is a COMEDY which was originally titled Leave It To Cleaver, basically it follows this magical cleaver and three of it’s owners as they discover, humourously, that the cleaver is not to be used for revenge (a common theme) but for good (like food!) It will make you hungry but it will also make you laugh too hard to eat snacks safely.
14. Confessions – If there’s anything I’ve learned from conteporary Japanese cinema post-Battle Royal to the present, it’s that they are ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of their children and convinced that they are definitely not alright. But the adult failings are just as interesting in this revenge film which has been chosen as Japan’s foreign language entry for the Oscars.
15. Never Let Me Go – Do you know how to read? Yes? Read the book. If you are illiterate or the sort of lazy asshole who doesn’t read fiction, you’ll get a rough outline of the book from the film, but it probably won’t resonate a fraction as strongly as the book. This isn’t to say it’s a bad film, just that it is a superb novel.
16. Cave of Forgotten Dreams – This movie proved to me that even Herzog doing 3-d will completely fuck with my immune system. While I was hardly the specimen of perfect health on this day, I was feeling better than I had in weeks…that is until I saw the film. I spent more than 50% of the film with one eye squidged close so the 3D wouldn’t bother me, and while the film was still just as wonderous and hilarious as Herzog usually is, I feel that if I had seen it in 2D I might have taken more away from it.

So there were a few films I missed at the festival, due to work schedules, film scheduling, etc etc that I am waiting on, if anything, the only one that haunts me miserably is missing The Housemaid. I’m a sucker for Korean cinema, and this film has a gorgeous aesthetic with a wicked plot, or so say my friends who were able to view it. Le sigh. At least Black Swan is coming out in a few weeks…

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