Mathew Englander (mathew5000) wrote,
Mathew Englander

TIFF Day 6

So, more than halfway through TIFF I’ve still only blogged about the first day. My favourite films seen here so far are Amour and Midnight’s Children. I will try to say a little about all the films I see at TIFF; for now here are the ones freshest in my mind (the scores on a scale of 0 to 10 are how much I like the film):

Byzantium. I don’t see a lot of vampire movies, haven’t seen Interview With the Vampire (also directed by Neil Jordan), haven’t seen or read any of Twilight, so I can’t make comparisons but just will say that I liked Byzantium, Saoirse Ronan was understated while her costar Gemma Arterton was not, and it worked wonderfully; entertaining throughout. 8

Birds and Viola. I had been looking forward to this pairing of a short with a mid-length film in the artsy Wavelengths programme (in prior years, these would likely have been in Visions, which this year was merged with Wavelengths). Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy either of these. Viola had perhaps an interesting idea (as explained afterward by the director), but the dialogue and editing was just stultifying. This is one film for which perhaps you need to know Spanish to appreciate; seeing Shakespeare performed in a foreign language with English subtitles was just confusing, but the real problem was the parts of the film where the characters are having dull conversations about each other’s love lives. 2

Just the Wind (orig. title Csak a szél). This was only the second film I’ve seen at TIFF this year projected on celluloid, which obviously is a pity, but one of the things you really notice are the imperfections, scratches and so on. I assume the film had been transferred to digital at some point and then transferred back, because there is one scene early on where a Romany song is subtitled into Hungarian, and those subtitles have the crisp digital look to them, even though the English subtitles throughout the film are done with old-style laser-etching. Bence Fliegauf is really a director to watch. I haven’t seen his earliest work but Womb (an English-language science-fiction film I saw at TIFF two years ago) was brilliant. In Just the Wind, he works with nonprofessional actors; often that sort of movie fails completely (e.g. The Forgiveness of Blood) but when it works, as here (and as in Gypsy, which I saw at TIFF last year) it is compelling. Inspired by true events, namely vicious attacks on Romany families in Hungary, the children in this film are so believable. There was no Q&A after the screening which was too bad, but the film easily stands by itself. 8
Tags: films, movies, tiff, toronto international film festival
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