TIFF Day Two
1) Der Nachtmahr (AKIZ)
I decided to start the day with a ridiculously strange film and my life is all the better for it. The film begins with an epilepsy warning and immediately goes into noise. The whole thing seems like a ninety minute long music video for a droning, repetitive electronic score, reminiscent of the world of Chris Cunningham, complete with its own miniature, and strangely adorifying, Rubber Johnny doppelganger. At the end of the film, I was left wondering what I had seen. There are a lot of things it could have been, but most of all, it was non-stop insane fun.
2) Hitchcock/Truffaut (Kent Jones)
A documentary on the arguably overrated eponymous work could have been good if the filmmaker looked at the relationship between the directors. Instead, we got this spark notes version which shows modern directors (most of them boring) talking about how good Hitchcock was followed by what basically amounts to readings from the book. The epilogue shows today’s directors talking about how awful today’s cinema is without a hint of irony. Note: the film includes an audio clip of Godard talking about how the powers that be decide what is best. Somehow, Godard is entirely blind to the fact that the Cahiers became those powers; that Hitchcock’s rise from forgettable to the greatest had very little to do with Hitchcock’s own talent and everything to do with branding.
3) Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang-soo)
This filmmaker goes drinking with this artist. He falls in love. They get drunk. He does a thing. It repeats a bit differently. I come away extremely demotivated.
4) The Witch (Robert Eggers)
This film brought be back to my cinephilic roots. This is a classic type of horror film, a story of witchery set in the 1600s or so, adapted entirely from court documents of the time. The result is an unsettling period piece which buys into the notion of the witch hunt attitude without actually getting into problematic territory. As such, the witches are terrifying, the imagery is visceral and the whole film is weirdly intense and intensely weird with the absurdity and insanity of both the time period and plot line coming together to create a wonderfully bizarre film.
5) The Apostate (Federico Veiroj)
After missing the wavelengths program (seriously, the first thing I can’t get into is a series of experimental shorts!) and realizing that the Sicario screening costs forty dollars (!!!), I decided to just go ahead and catch this film that I was gonna see a couple days later. A man wants to have his baptism wiped from the record. The bureaucrats of the church won’t do it. That’s all that can really be said about this film. An interesting notion wasted on a stereotypically European arthouse style.