October 08, 2007

TIFF 07 : 1

So here they are, in no particular order.

Margot at the Wedding was actually one of the last films I saw at the festival; it was smart, funny, articulate, subtle, obscure and very full of Noah Bombachisms. More cynical and darkly toned than his previous film, the Squid and the Whale, Noah populates this world with passive aggressive, hypocritical, selfish characters--but mostly it's Margot. It presents problems without solutions, and perhaps leaves the audience without the emotional release it wants, but it's curiously structured, terrifically written, and a pleasure to watch. One of the best of the fest. Margot at the Wedding

Persepolis was the first film I saw, and certainly one of the very very best. Clever, creative, dignified, broad, mature, adult, funny, very entertaining... and hopefully groundbreaking. This is finally an animated film that deals with the drama and violence of the real world without compromise. It takes great advantage of the medium, and though perhaps it could linger a little longer and trust in its character animation, allowing itself to be more emotionally involving rather than merely illustrative, it's terrifically successful, and extremely accessible. I hope this proves to be a very important film, and gets watched by everyone. Perhaps one of my favourite animated films ever. Persepolis

Well this is just too many great films for one post. Erik Nitzche: the early years, written by the great Danish director Lars Von Trier under his nom de plume, was the most fun film of the festival. It was sharp. funny, and visually rich, but a little muddley story-wise. What was it about beyond what it was about? The story of a corrupted innocent, this autobiographical work carries us emotionally with Erik as he is threatened, judged, panned and discouraged, and yet perseveres. But how is he different from any of the other characters? Are they dishonest in their intentions? Too full of themselves? Is Erik really a better filmmaker? Or is the idea that everyone deserves the chance to try to hold on to the thing they love? My painting looks serious, but if you love Lars, then you'll find this film pretty insightful, and pretty damn entertaining. Erik Nitzche: the early years

Secret Sunshine involves a Korean woman who, after suffering two great tragedies, turns to religion, only to find heavy disappointment. Though it's pretty long and occaisionally tends toward melodrama, there are some very powerful scenes, and strong ideas. There's a great character named Mr. Lee, who is funny, sympathetic, sad, understandably frustrated, and beautifuly loyal. It's not as emotionally involving as I would have hoped, but it did manage a few things very well. Secret Sunshine