TIFF Day Eight
1) Bolshoi Babylon (Mark Franchetti, Nick Read)
I started my day here because Victoria sold out. This is a documentary on the world famous Bolshoi ballet and its inner workings, with a side focus on the head of the ballet who had avoid poured on his face. I admit that I went in wanting the film I had imagined in my head (equal parts Pas de deux and Rainbow Man 3:16), so that may have had something to do with my disappointment. The Bolshoi offers so many interesting stories and some are tackled (disposability of ballerinas, the acid attack) but must are left unexplored to focus on Russian politics, which I just did not care about. I have never come so close to walking out of a TIFF theatre. There are some scenes of the ballerinas dancing that can hold one’s attention.
2) The Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson)
This is basically Anderson’s elegy to her dead dog and I really appreciated that fact. The film is heartfelt, funny, touching and revelatory in equal parts. At only 75 minutes, it leaves you wanting more, but it also does not feel like a film; more like a television special. That’s not necessarily a detriment though.
3) Office 3D (Johnny To)
To’s love letter to capitalism, this film takes a state of the art Chinese office and turns the daily workings of its inhabitants into song and dance numbers. The musical sequences were few and far between, unfortunately, but they were fun to watch for the most part. I am still not entirely sure how I feel about the film’s treatment of capitalism, though. The downs are certainly portrayed, but the ups take up the majority of the runtime, culminating in a “star is born” type ending, which concludes that capitalism is a good way to go. For once, I will have to let my politics get in the way: I could not enjoy this film’s non-ironic, unabashed treatment of the office life. Or was it ironic? (Sorry for the Bazinian ending but I need more time to think)