September 08, 2014

TIFF Sun Sept 7: Free love, gender-adjusted love, hotel love, creature love, broken love

My Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival was all about love, love, love. With a monstrous transformation or two along the way.

Itsi Bitsi [Denmark, Ole Christian Madsen, 4] Young couple's commitment to their 60s odyssey derails their shot at love. Biopic  chronicles the life of a counterculture flame-out whose short-lived band remains iconic in Danish rock music.

Rise and fall of the 60s movies always face a dramatic irony issue--the audience  knows the characters are making terrible decisions way before they do.

The New Girlfriend [France, Francois Ozon, 4] Woman discovers that her best friend's widower has taken to wearing her clothing. Sirkian drama for the age of gender multiplicity with standout performances from Romain Duris and Anais Demoustier.

Based on a Ruth Rendell novel. Loosely I'm guessing.

Kabukicho Love Hotel [Japan, Ryuichi Hiroki, 1] 24 hours in the life of a red light district sex hotel. Script for this ensemble drama includes such hallmarks of bullshit writing as heavy reliance on coincidence, characters spouting their backstories at each other, and cheap invocations of recent disasters.

Spring [US, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, 4] Young Californian goes to Italy after the death of his mother, where he falls for an alluring woman with an ancient, paranormal affliction. Reference points for this beguiling supernatural romance include Richard Linklater and Arthur Machen.

Breakup Buddies [China, Ning Hao, 4] Crushed by his divorce, a stereo salesman lets his womanizing movie producer pal rope him into a road trip to get him back in the dating game. Sweet-natured road comedy shows what a crowdpleaser looks like in mainland China these days.