September 12, 2019

TIFF 2019 Day Eight: Kickoff to an Indonesian Superhero Cinematic Universe

No.7 Cherry Lane [HK, Yonfan, 4] In 1967 Hong Kong, a student courts a woman (Sylvia Chang) who has hired him to tutor his daughter by taking her to Simone Signoret films. Metatextual cel-animated melodrama explores the role heterosexual romance plays in gay aestheticism.

So Long, My Son [China, Wang Xiaoshuai. 4.5] A cruel decision made under the One Child policy compounds a family tragedy, reverberating through the decades for a working couple and their circle. Saga of the effect of the political on the personal in fragmented time from the 80s to the present.

Gundala [Indonesia, Joko Anwar, 3.5] Orphaned urchin grows up to discover his lightning-based fighting and healing powers, putting them to use against a sinister counterpart. Kicks off a cinematic universe adapted from an Indonesian comic continuity with labored exposition, wild overplotting, competing structural elements, inexplicable teaser sequences for future installments—you know, just like a Marvel movie.

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.