September 13, 2014

TIFF Fri Sept 12: Teen paranoia, neo-gothic kids, and fragile love

Titles I'm not seeing at TIFF that seem to be getting buzz: Force Majeure, Nightcrawler, The Theory of Everything, Tusk.

Partners in Crime [Taiwan, Chang Jung-chi, 5] Trio of high schoolers who meet while discovering a schoolmate's body decide to investigate the reasons for her apparent suicide. Teenage paranoia thriller scores the trifecta: gripping, fresh, and always real.

It's great to see a young filmmaker from Taiwan, best known for languid naturalism, grab hold of the full range of narrative tools: music, editing, camera movement.

Goodnight Mommy [Austria, Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala, 3.5] Dread ensues when twin boys become convinced that the cold, bandaged woman freshly returned from plastic surgery is not really their mom. Drolly alarming neo-Kubrickian modern gothic.

This was looking like a 4.5 for most of its runtime but then SPOILERS.

There are several directing pairs who are brothers. This is my first time hearing of an aunt-nephew team.

Where I am King [Philippines, Carlos Siguion-Reyna, 3] Tycoon on the skids moves with his young adult grandchildren into a tenement he owns in the slum he was raised in. Life lessons abound in this amiable melodrama.

This is Siguion-Reyna's first film in over a decade. I'll admit I was hoping for the satirical bite of his great 80s work, like Harvest Home.

Not My Type [Belgium, Lucas Belvaux, 4] Unlikely love sparks between handsome Parisian philosopher and fun-loving small-town hairdresser. Deceptively simple romantic drama which becomes surprisingly suspenseful--because you're waiting for him to make the horrible mistake that ruins everything.