TIFF13: Films in Review

tiff20135 The 2013 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is behind us and I can say that I had a fairly satisfying year.  Altogether, I saw a total of 24 films as part of this year’s festival.  This was my first year doing double duty for the film festival, since I wrote a number of TIFF reviews for my new writing gig at Toronto Film Scene.  Altogether, I’ve written 14 reviews here, plus an additional 4 for Toronto Film Scene.  As such, the majority of the films that I have seen have already been spoken for.  However, I don’t want to leave no film behind, so now is the time for me to provide capsule reviews of the remaining six films.  I will also conveniently provide links to all my previous reviews. Full Reviews

Toronto Film Scene Reviews

Capsule Reviews Standing Aside, Watching
This film was part of the Greek-centred City-to-City programme and was about a woman named Antigone, who moves back to her old hometown, hoping to start a quiet life.  However, she finds herself in the middle of a situation, in which her friend Elini is constantly being abused by the man she is having an affair with.  The film takes its time to get to its point and it wasn’t really until the final 15 minutes or so that I finally realized what the film was actually about.  The film as a whole was so-so, but it was also ultimately forgettable.
7 | FAIR  Sex, Drugs, and Taxation
The film is a semi-fictional biopic, which focuses on the relationship between alcoholic playboy Simon Spies (Pilou Asbaek) and tax lawyer Mogens Glistrup (Nicolas Bro) in Denmark from the mid-1960s until the 1980s. Spies lived a highly hedonistic lifestyle, in which he grew long hair and a beard and often participated in many crude public acts.  This left Glistrup is take care of the operations of Spies’ company, which includes coming up with a plan to avoid paying taxes.  Once you get past all the extreme sex and nudity in the film (including an interesting scene involving a gorilla), the film ends up being merely a so-so biopic. It is unknown which aspects of the film are real and which are exaggerated, however the film as a whole is one odd story.
7 | FAIR  Jodorowsky’s Dune
In 1975, cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky set out to develop an epic film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune.  During pre-production, Jodorowsky hired an eccentric team for the concept art and effects, which included French comic book artist Moebius, Dan O’Bannon, H.R. Giger, and sci-fi paperback illustrator Chris Foss.  The cast of the film was planned to include the likes of Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, and Orson Welles.  However, Jodorowsky’s version of Dune could not be greenlit by a studio and the project moved to producer Raffaella De Laurentiis, which resulted in the generally disliked adaptation directed by David Lynch. However, the ideas for Jodorowsky’s Dune survived and influenced other sci-fi films worked on by the crew, particularly Ridley Scott’s Alien, of which both Dan O’Bannon and H.R. Giger were part of.  This documentary really makes you want to see Jodorowsky’s Dune, which had some very impressive concept art and storyboards.  In the decades since, the film has gone on to become known as one of the greatest and most influential sci-fi films never made.
 9 | REALLY LIKED IT The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears
I’ve already written about the many walkouts at the screening I attended, but it’s now time to talk about the film itself. The film is a homage to Italian giallo films from the 1970s and focuses on a man and a detective trying to solve a mystery surround an apartment complex.  The film isn’t a particularly easy watch and features disturbing violent imagery, quick cuts, and a very piercing soundtrack. In addition, many scenes in the film are repeated throughout, which essentially makes The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears a very avant garde and experimental horror film.  I can say that I liked the film based on is technical merits, even though I still don’t fully understand the plot of the film.
8 | LIKED IT A Field in England
Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers) returns with this highly experimental film, which focuses on a group of men, who gather on a field during the English Civil War.  They are captured by an evil man named O’Neil, who forces them to help search for a buried treasure. The film is a mesmerizing mix of period drama, comedy, and horror. One of the most striking images in the film, involves a man who is tortured in a tent and emerges with a very creepy grin on his face.  The film also features quite a bit of kaleidoscopic psychedelic imagery in the final act, which would make the film not really recommended for those that suffer from epilepsy. Overall, this film was definitely quite the experience.
8 | LIKED IT The Wonders
This Israeli comedy focuses on a man named Arnav, who is recruited by a private investigator named Gittis to help with a case involving a kidnapped Rabbi, who happens to be locked in an apartment next to Arnav. While much of the film is a hardboiled crime story, with comic elements, there are many inexplicable surreal moments, such as blue light coming out of the apartment or the many paintings Arnav draws coming to life when no one is looking.  However, even though those elements of the film are never really explained, the film as a whole was a very enjoyable, and very Jewish, film.

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).