September 08, 2019

TIFF Day Three: A Ruthless South Korean Thriller and a Forbiddingly Beautiful Cult Drama

The Other Lamb [Belgium/Poland/US, Malgorzata Szumowska, 4] The onset of puberty changes everything for a young member of an isolated cult (Raffey Cassidy) consisting of the many wives and daughters of a charismatic leader (Michiel Huisman.) Set in a landscape of stark and forbidding beauty, this hits the baked-in beats of a cult liberation drama with an emphasis on the role of womens’ devotion in sustaining patriarchy.

Three Summers [Brazil, Sandra Kogut, 3.5] When her employers are busted in the Operation Car Wash bribery scandal, their resourceful chief maid steps in to protect the staff and a disregarded pater familias. Naturalistic drama with satirical undertones follows the effects of elite dereliction on the working class.

The Giant [US, David Raboy, 2] In what might be a dream, a distorted memory or a trip into the Bardo Thodol, a southern teen processes nameless trauma involving her dead mom and troubled ex. Bearing the stylistic influences of Aronofsky and Malick, this falls prey to the standard failing of head trip films—no payoff.

Bring Me Home [South Korea, Kim Seung-woo,4] Nurse’s search for her missing young son takes her to a rural village where fishing tour operators protected by a corrupt cop exploit the labor of a couple of kids. Bars no holds in pursuit of physically and emotionally brutal thrills.

Capsule review boilerplate: Ratings are out of 5. I’ll be collecting these reviews in order of preference in a master post the Monday after the fest. Films shown on the festival circuit will appear in theaters, streaming platforms and perhaps even good old physical media over the next year plus. If you’ve heard of a film showing at TIFF, I’m probably waiting to see it during its upcoming conventional release.Unless you mean The Color Out of Space, which I’m seeing on the 14th.

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