September 16, 2011

TIFF Day Eight

That Summer [France, Philippe Garrel, 1] Feckless bit player recalls the events in a tortured marriage that led to his artist friend's suicide. I watched this listless trainwreck in puzzled fascination, wondering if its near-complete avoidance of well-constructed dramatic scenes comes through incompetence or perverse design.

That Summer so completely embraces the stereotypical traits of Gallic film, and executes them so maladroitly, that it could be used as an argument against French cinema in its entirety. In other words, it is France's GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Love and Bruises [China/France, Lou Ye, 4] Chinese student in Paris allows herself to become enmeshed in an abusive relationship with a manipulative laborer. Tough journey inside an all-too-common relationship takes on a political dimension.

Caprichosos de San Telmo [Argentina/Canada, Alison Murray, 4] Documentary profiles members of a murga, a traditional costumed drum and dance group from a poor Buenos Aires neighborhood who perform at Carnival time. Testament to the power of collective creativity presents the folklore and politics of murga through the stories of the participants.

Michael [Austria, Markus Schleinzer, 4] Unassuming insurance man's affinity for routine detail assists him as he keeps a young boy imprisoned in his basement. Wickedly matter-of-fact take on the banality of evil can safely be called the most restrained horror film in movie history.