September 24th, 2015

TIFF 2015 final report

I enjoyed the films seen in the second half of TIFF much more, in general, than those I reported on in my previous post.

Overall at TIFF this year I went to 29 screenings comprising 17 shorts, 3 TV episodes, and 26 features. (That includes one walkout.) I don't have time to write about everything; below are some comments on my favourites from what I saw in the last five days of TIFF (Sept. 16 to 20).

A Copy of My Mind (dir. Joko Anwar). I just loved this understated Indonesian film, where the first hour or so is just a slice of life of a young woman in Jakarta, working at a salon, buying monster-movie DVDs, getting a boyfriend, and so forth, and then it pivots as she accidentally gets involved in a high-level political conspiracy. Of course this general theme has done before, in for example North by Northwest, Polanski's Frantic, or even the underrated Kim Basinger thriller Cellular, but Anwar's film is nevertheless full of surprises. He takes the time to introduce his characters and the setting, before the intrigue begins, so even though it might sound implausible, everything in the film occurs organically. Shot largely handheld (with some scenes apparently even shot clandestinely on an iPhone), Jakarta looks gritty, even ugly, with occasional moments of cinematographic beauty.

11 Minutes (dir. Jerzy Skolimowski). A clever and dynamic film, 11 Minutes shows eight or so different stories taking place in Warsaw, all within the same 11-minute period. I love movies like this, that have a nonlinear timeline and give the audience a bit of a puzzle. While watching 11 Minutes, I was reminded of Mystery Train and Vantage Point, although 11 Minutes has a unique rhythm and unpredictable plot(s). This is a movie I want to re-watch and diagram, just to see the brilliance of the film's construction. The director's Q&A following the screening was also interesting and entertaining; I don't know whether the video is on YouTube but here's a photo on Instagram.

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