September 10, 2011

TIFF Day Two

Alois Nebel [Czech Republic, Tomas Lunak, 3] Depressed railway dispatcher stoically suffers setbacks after the fall of the Iron Curtain. B&W computer rotoscoping, in the Waking Life style, lends graphic novelty to your basic post-Communist despond movie.

Advantage of digital projection era: when the screening glitches, a freeze frame is much less distressing than melting film.

Disadvantage: projectionists can now forget to turn the subtitles on.

Sub-advantage: this beats a celluloid print arriving with the wrong subtitles.

Mr. Tree [China, Han Jie, 4] In a northern mining town, a perennial screw-up haunted by a family murder makes a footless effort to better himself. Finds unexpected depths in its central character as its naturalistic comedy shifts into the dramatic.

The program book describes the protagonist as the village idiot. On viewing it becomes clear that he is in fact the village dipshit, a quite different position.

Goodbye First Love [France, Mia Hansen-Love, 4] A 15-year-old girl's intense love for her boyfriend casts a shadow over her life that lasts for many years after their break-up.

Sons of Norway [Norway, Jens Lien, 4] When his mom is killed and his dad falls to pieces, a boy raised in a hippie household seeks angry solace in the burgeoning punk scene. Funny and moving coming-of-age story clangs to the music of the Sex Pistols.

John Lydon, who executive produced and makes a cameo appearance, was present along with the filmmakers to give it his authentic rebellion seal of approval.