Hello Loyal TIFF Followers,
Unfortunately, MostMetro has been experiencing quite a bit of trouble with their website…and that’s why you haven’t heard from me for a couple days. They’re working hard to iron out all the kinks, and I appreciate you coming back for more (some of you with multiple attempts).
My first film on Thursday was John Butler’s HANDSOME DEVIL. Though a little light, there’s certainly an audience for this crowd-pleasing film about an outcast with bright red hair at a boarding school in Ireland. The unlikely friendship he strikes up with his handsome roommate has them eventually entered in a talent night where they’ll sing and play guitar together…and it’s really charming. However, the focus at this school is rugby, and the behaviors of the new guy don’t fit in with the agenda of his rugby coach. DEAD POETS’ SOCIETY meets SCHOOL TIES meets SING STREET. If it doesn’t get released sooner, you can certainly look for this film at next year’s PRIDE screening in June. There is no trailer for this film, so you only get a still at this time.
Next up was THE UNKOWN GIRL – a film by the Dardenne Brothers (KID WITH A BIKE, TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT). The Dardennes are known for this social-realist style of filmmaking. Always commenting on class as well as economic and social justice, this film still fills that role…but goes in a bit of different direction. This is the story of a doctor who doesn’t answer the buzzer at her office door. It’s after hours, and she figures a person would buzz multiple times if it was an emergency. The next day, she finds out that the girl who buzzed has been found dead across the street…she was a prostitute who buzzed the door in a panic – looking for help. Driven by guilt, the doctor begins her own investigation to find the name of the unknown girl. Without any scoring to trigger emotions, this mystery feels all the more real. Though not embraced by critics like their previous two films, I found it very satisfying.
SOUVENIR, starring Isabelle Huppert and directed by Babo Defurne, this is the story of a woman who works in a pate factory. She used to be a famous singer, but her star faded early after coming in 2nd place during a televised European singing contest (ABBA took home first place that year). The opening titles for the film are beautiful bubbles floating through water. Bubbles, bubbles, more bubbles. It’s pretty and hypnotizing. It’s light, it’s airy, it’s effervescent…it’s alka-seltzer. Thus we get a joke right from the opening credits. This French gem – which becomes a December/May romance, won’t be embraced by everyone. But I really like it! There’s no trailer for this film, but here’s a clip.
After my three films, I met up with an old friend for dinner. Then I met up with a few more friends (film programmers, PR folks, etc.) for cocktails. This was by far the latest I stayed out…and I paid for it the next morning. (But it was worth it.)
Thanks for reading,