TIFF Day Three
1) Endorphin (Andre Taupin)
This film was quite an enigma for me, to the point where I can’t even really describe it without resorting to buzzwords: trauma, temporality, consciousness. That might actually be a fairly good description. A young woman’s life is turned upside down when she witnesses her mother’s murder, which, through a series of losses of consciousness, causes her to become somewhat unstuck in time and space, showing up at various points within this continuum. The film does drag a bit in its second act, which causes it to seem way too long for its relatively short runtime, but if you are looking for a self-aware puzzle film, this will quench your thirst.
2) Body (Malgorzata Szumowska)
This was the film that I was waiting for: a buzzless film that would blow me away! This Polish film tells the stories of a CSI father, his anorexic daughter and her therapist who also happens to be a medium. The premise sounds silly and the film revels in its own absurdity, but the real strength of this film is in its attention to detail. Each frame is constructed through such an exact mastery of the film form, resulting in gorgeous shots which further the very title of the film: the body is not only imprisoned within a soulless modern society, but the body is frequently a prison itself. The framing of shots throughout demonstrate this idea (at one point, two characters are not only on opposing sides of the frame, one is imprisoned in a doorway, while another only exists in a mirror (I am kind of obsessed with this shot right now)), but never forget the Sisyphean roots of this style of living. Everybody needs to see this film. Everybody!
3) Hellions (Bruce McDonald)
After missing the Lobster and being unable to get into another screening, I decided to just wait for Hellions. The newest film from localized filmmaker McDonald starts out promising enough: suburbia, Halloween, sufficiently creepy children. Then the story begins and it all falls apart. There are really two problems with this film: it doesn’t know what it wants to be and every artistic decision is the wrong one. First, this film is an absolute hodgepodge of unrelated genre tropes, which means that, at the drop of a pin, the film goes from haunted house to creepy children to Charles Bronson action film, with nods to Maddin, Belson and Fleming, without even being fully aware of it. Even the ideology seems to change: I know that the film has something to say about abortion, but I genuinely don’t know what it is anymore! As for the latter, why did everything go white once the children showed up? Why did things randomly explode? Why was this film made? How did McDonald manage to make something so awful?
4) Hardcore (Ilya Naishuller)
I could go into some detail here, but you don’t care, because you just want one quick simple answer: Yes, it is so much fun! This film is deeply problematic at times, but who cares? As long as you turn your brain off for ninety minutes, this film will be one of the most fun experiences you will have: lots of video game logic, lots of weapons, lots of death. Just, again, keep that brain off!