Superfluous Matter

For the past week and a half the Toronto International Film Festival has been happening here (in Toronto, obviously). I went to three show this year and was reminded again how I should really go to more shows and not less. TIFF is awesome.

My first movie was Real Time which is a Canadian film about the last hour of the life of a compulsive gambler before he is ummm, whacked, for not paying his debts. The title is a reference to the fact that the movie runs in real time. Every minute you sit in the theatre is a minute in the movie and a minute closer to the main character's impending doom. This was not just a gimmick but actually served to control the mood of the movie. It is pretty light-hearted at the start with lots of jokes and funny stuff. But as it progresses and you realize time is running out, things stop being funny and start being pretty depressing. The mood and tone were perfectly managed and the result was an excellent movie.

My second movie, Vinyan was a collaborative horror film from France, the United Kingdom and Belgium. A white couple who lost their only child in the tsunami in Thailand set out to the jungles of Burma to search for their son after seeing a video of tsunami-orphaned children in the region. The children live on their own in a destroyed village and have clearly become feral. Personally, I find children terrifying so this movie definitely frightened me. The acting from the two leads seemed to be a bit dead, but I enjoyed the performance given by their untrustworthy guide (some sort of local gang lord). Also, the scenery and cinematography in the movie were gorgeous.

The final movie I saw was the Spanish slasher-comedy flick, Sexykiller. The movie follows the exploits of a female serial killer on a University campus in Spain. If it weren't for the gore this would be a straight up comedy, however the intensity of the viscera were enough to earn this movie a place in the horror-dominated Midnight Madness program. For me this movie was just plain fun. The female killer, Barbara, is so confident in her convictions about who should die that it's hard not to agree with her. The pacing is excellent, never a dull moment, and there are lots of amusing references to Hollywood classics and other pop culture stuff. Barbara frequently talks directly to the audience in the movie, addressing the camera with such authenticity that it often feels like she can see you. This feeling was further enhanced by the actress's attendance at the screening. Both her and the director talked before and after the movie and they looked like they were having at least as much fun as the audience. Such a great atmosphere!

Next year I'm going to try to go to five screenings. It's just so much fun!

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