September 10, 2013

TIFF Day Five: Scarlett Johannson is an Alien Succubus

Bad Hair [Venezuela, Marina Rondón, 4] Hard-pressed favela dweller pushes back against her willful prepubescent son's incipient gayness, as exemplified by his yen for straightened hair. Keenly observed drama of family love and resentment in an unforgiving environment.

The Amazing Catfish [Mexico, Claudia Sainte-Luce, 4] Isolated young woman befriends a dying woman and her fractious brood of kids. Drama told with a an honesty and simplicity that keeps it well clear of tearjerker territory.

A rare example of a film in which a kid is given a goldfish that does not at some point come to grief. (I assure you that this is in no way a spoiler.)

Club Sandwich [Mexico, Fernando Eimbcke, 4] Off-season hotel vacation for  hot mom and the 16-year-old son she treats a bit like a husband turns uncomfortable when he meets a girl his own age. Minimalist comedy of emotional boundary adjustment.

The above brings to 2 the number of films so far to use The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" Though this one is a downtempo cover in Spanish.

Soul [Taiwan, Chung Mong-Hong, 4] When his son murders his daughter, an elderly orchid farmer, believing he has a csae of ghost possession on his hands, goes to extremes to cover it up. Visually stunning, occasionally funny or violent, cryptic Zen koan of a film.

The above rating us extremely provisional. It might drop or maybe even go higher depending on how it sticks with me over the next week. Right afterwards the guy next to me at the urinal had to tell me that it was first movie you've seen the festival so far. That made me like it more.

Under the Skin [UK, Jonathan Glazer, 5] Alien invader in seductive human disguise  (Scarlett Johansson) drives around Scotland harvesting victims. Mind-blowing images and music weave a freaky sci-fi tone poem.

It is a tribute to the power of TIFF that they could fill a huge venue and whip up an incredible sense of excitement for this crazy art movie.The promised brief glimpse of its star helped that enormously, of course.

If you want the glib version when describing it to your friends as you try to get them to go with you to see if you could say, "what if Species have been a Stanley Kubrick project?"