September 08, 2013

TIFF Day Three: Lovely Vampires and Scary People

Heavy rain, which always burdens the all-out festival-goer with an additional layer of logistical friction. If friction comes in a damp variety. Yet perhaps fitting for a day of menace and murder.

Only Lovers Left Alive [US, Jim Jarmusch, 5] Married vampires Adam and Eve (Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston) reunite after a long time apart in his guitar-festooned Detroit hideout. Funny, magical meditation on the power of culture in a world of decay. With Mia Wiaskowska as the trouble-bringing baby sister vampire and William Hurt as Christopher Marlowe.

Jarmusch, Hiddleston and Anton Yelchin, who hilariously plays a music industry Renfield, appeared at the screening.

Although I default to films that aren't guaranteed a theatrical release, this is coming out thru Sony Classics (and this Mongrel Media here in Canada.) I picked this as the most promising choice in its slot and am glad I did, as I now have one five-star item in pocket.

Cannibal [Spain, Manuel Martín Cuenca, 4] Quiet serial killer develops confusing feelings for the sister of his latest victim, who meets him while investigating her disappearance. Calmly gripping thriller turns the introvert-comes-out-of-shell movie on its head, by making it about a protagonist who kills and eats women.
In past years two multiplexes gave half of their screens to the fest. This time thiose screenings have been assigned to a single house, which is straining to accommodate the traffic flow.

Of Good Report [South Africa, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, 3.5] High school teacher whose resume looks good on paper embarks on an affair with a student, to unhinged results. Histrionic crime film in scabrous B&W feels like its young director is smashing the prevailing aesthetic of African cinema in the face with a hammer bequeathed to him by Sam Fuller.

Intruders [South Korea, Noh Young-seok,   4] Screenwriter's attempts to work in isolation at a closed B&B are thwarted first by comic impositions, then a more sinister turn of events. Adroitly shifts tones and genres not once, which is hard enough, but twice.

So far the buzz for higher profile movies that might win Oscars seems to be going to 12 Years a Slave with Chiwetel Eijiofor. Last year Argo fizzled at TIFF, won the Academy Award, and is now retroactively counted as part of the fest's predictive winning streak.