TIFF Day Six
1) Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
I started my day with the latest from the arthouse darling Joe, a film about people in an army hospital who are put into sleep for some kind of purpose (great indicator here). The film is visually breathtaking as usual. There are several sections in the film that just left me speechless. However, the plot was kind of convoluted and frankly, at the risk of committing a critic faux pas, it was just plain boring. One scene consisted of a minute long shot of a woman defecating in the jungle. I fell asleep at one point and did not really regret it.
2) Janis: Little Girl Blue (Amy Berg)
I am a big fan of Janis Joplin and I was excited and worried in equal parts about this film. Janis is absolutely beautiful. Following on the tails of films such as Montage of Heck, the film consists of rare archival footage mixed in with talking heads. The footage is beautiful and really shows off Joplin’s talent. Occasionally, there is threat of the film becoming conventional but Berg shouted a real capability with the material. One particularly beautiful scene that stuck with me was taken from Monterey Pop: Mama Cass is shown watching Janis perform, looking at her derisively. It is explained that the two scenes (LA and San Fran) didn’t really get along. Janis’ performance is followed by a follow-up shot of Mama Cass who is absolutely enjoying herself. If you love Janis, you need to see this film.
3) My Internship in Canada (Philippe Falardeau)
After the boring Monsieur Lazhar, Falardeau returns to his comedic roots with this film about a politician who finds himself with the deciding vote and the young Haitian man who becomes his intern. Falardeau has a great, dark wit that comes through very well here, particularly through his mouthpiece Patrick Huard. The film has many real world parallels which makes it both hilarious and devastating and the performances are all good and realistic. One issue that I had is that the film often resorts to cheap stereotypes in places where proper political satire would have worked. This film is fair and balanced, satirizing the individuals on all sides as well as our dear prime minister. If you are looking for a timely political comedy, you have found it!
4) Lace Crater (Harrison Atkins)
This film is a bit unusual for me, because I hated everything about it and yet I kinda liked it. The film tells the story of a bunch of hipsters who go on a trip where one contracts an STD from a ghost. This premise works so well right at the beginning. Then, the mood changes, it stops working, works again and then stops. The lead performance was quite good as were the horror visuals, but the ever present score was too awed by its cleverness to not annoy me. The film is kind of a cross between mumblecore, early 2000s quirky indie comedies and ghosts and if you can manage to distance yourself from it, it’s surprisingly enjoyable.