October 12, 2007

TIFF 07 : 3

Slingshot is a frenetic, verité style journey into the world of poverty stricken Manila. Violent, morally ambiguous, and at times terrifying, this film seems to honestly portray this society on the brink of destruction. Sudden flares of violence, theivery and infidelity describe social conditions that seem insurmountable. Unfortunately, the film is too sprawling, never ending--I wish it were more focussed; it's restless energy is both its strength and undoing. Incredible and upsetting and long. Slingshot

Perhaps the very worst film of the festival. Poorly structured, pretentious, annoying, boring, inarticulate, insubstantial; wholly unsatisfying. Boldly drawn out ie, loooooong scenes are poorly concieved and executed; aimless. The poetry of the banal the director attempts to celebrate is instead a parade of overdressed extras: the girl on the bike, the woman with a trombone case, the man with flowers and a limp. Hideous, immature, uninsightful compositions, scenes and sequences play flat and shallowly, as clever as the director attempts to be. The subversion of narrative structure--setup and payoff--severly injures this film from minute one; the director fails to let us identify with the characters and so we never ever do. Awful. Dans la ville de Sylvia

Terror's Advocate is a biography of French lawyer and staunch anti-colonialist Jacques Vergès. Defender of Algerian revolutionaries, Palestinian terrorists, a Nazi torturer and countless dictators, Vergès is depicted as a complex, mysterious (his inexplicable disappearance for eight years) and morally righteous man, and through the film you really come to understand his intentions and point of view; it's an incredible story. The film suffers from a lack of direction however, and is too loosely organized for its own good. Truly fascinating though. Terror's Advocate

A very personal documentary about director Guy Madden's hometown. Mixing important and frivilous, public and private, real and fantastic accounts of historical events, Guy dissects not only his own longings and aversions to his hometown, but also hints at why any of us feels attachment--and disappointment--in the places we inhabit. Chronicling such strange events as the pack of horses frozen in the river (an attractive destination for young couples), the flattening of Happyland by a bison stampede, the rash of ectoplasmic sceances in the 20's, the dissolution of the Winnipeg Jets hockey team and arena and the commonality of orange jello, Guy also rents his childhood home for a month and hires actors to play his family. Strange, very funny, sad, very funny, sad and nostalgic. Highly recommended (although probably especially if you're from Winnipeg). My Winnipeg


  1. Great posts, Nick! The paintings are awesome and I'm enjoying reading your reviews.

  2. Thanks Ted! I appreciate it.

  3. I'm curious about "My Winnipeg". I really want to enjoy Madden's work, but I tend to have a hard time getting into his stylized worlds. Did you feel like you could connect to the characters here?

  4. Well, the character here was Guy Madden.
    It was a documentary, so there wasn't really anything to get attached to in that way. Winnipeg is the other character, and the city is something that you can relate to--in its smallness and largeness and sadness. He pays tribute to things like back alleys and signs of stores that everyone remembers, but have now been shut off or taken down. This is the kind of film that would investigate why London Ontario is called the forest city; storybook gardens, the great flood of 1937, and the loss of Eatons and the Hudson Bay Company from Galleria Mall. Also, all the crazy product testing they do there.

  5. That sounds really great, actually. Kind of like that doc from a couple of years ago "Los Angeles Plays Itself". I'm a little creeped out by how well you know London, though...

  6. Nah, it's not me, it's the wikipedia.
    I'm gonna have to look up that LA doc.