September 18, 2020

TIFF Day 8: Cottage Country Art-Horror

Pieces of a Woman [US, Kornél Mundruczó, 3.5] Grief tears a couple (Vanessa KIrby, Shia LaBeouf) apart after the death of their baby in childbirth, abetted by the insistence of her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn) that they pursue legal action against their midwife (Molly Parker.) Wrenching drama marked by deep performances and key long take scenes. An otherwise masterful script reaches for the conventional when it hits its climax.

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel [Canada, Joel Bakan & Jennifer Abbott, 4] Polemical documentary deploys narration, stock footage and talking heads (some appearing via lockdown video conference) to survey corporate capitalism and the struggle against it from Reaganomics to COVID and the George Floyd protests. Comprehensive primer for the prospective young progressives includes a call to continued electoral action.

The doc starts by tackling apparently public-minded initiatives as Trojan Horses for privatization. It is a Crave Original. Crave, Canada’s premium cable/streaming service, is a division of Bell, one half of our reigning telecom duopoly and the lead sponsor of the Toronto International Film Festival

Violation [Canada, Madeleine Sims-Fewer & Dusty Mancinelli, 4] Woman (Madeleine Sims-Fewer) exacts meticulous revenge after her brother-in-law rapes her. Although this jarring, meditative drama includes gruesome imagery and horror-exploitation motifs, it’s closer in spirit to Michael Haneke than Dario Argento or Wes Craven.

Many years the power of coincidence throws up an unintended motif running through many of the movies we pick. Past examples have included cats, stress vomiting, animal slaughter, and teddy bears. This year’s motif: plastic bags as a suffocation weapon.

Falling [US, Viggo Mortensen, 3] Pathologically forbearing airline pilot (Mortensen) attempts to find a new situation for his lifelong miserable prick of a father (Lance Henriksen) as his dementia worsens. With one character incapable of change and another not needing to change, almost all of the scenes repeat the same dynamic.

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, disc and/or streaming over the next year plus.