Toronto ’08!!!

Scotiabank Theatres - one film festival venue

Scotiabank Theatres - one film festival venue

I’m back in Toronto at the Toronto International Film Festival and decided to post some thoughts on some of the films I’m seeing. I’m not much of a review writer but I’m linking to the TIFF film list so you can get the “real deal.” I try to get into as many foreign language (non-English) films as I can but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. For example, Wendy and Lucy (below) takes place in Oregon. I couldn’t get a ticket to anything else during that particular block of time so instead of just wandering around I thought I’d give it a watch. Apron Strings is another English language film that I saw Saturday but it is definitely international. I’ll talk about it tomorrow.

Two for today:

Native Dancer

A healer/seer, witch to some, is allowed to live and practice her magic on land in the Kazakh desert owned by a grateful client, Batyr. Batyr owes his son to Aidai-apa, the healer and although we never know his occupation, we do know that he is well off. Batyr’s good will and intentions are stretched to breaking as his nemesis tries to take over the land which Batyr has failed to register, and his son, bonded to and trained by Aidai-apa, is threatened. Kazakhstan’s massive mountains create a crushing backdrop even as as the good in good vs. evil is increasingly blurred in the climax. A relatively new director portrays the hidden springs of humanity in an arid and often unhospitable moral landscape.

Why see this film?: How else will you ever see Kazakhstan! Besides that, see it for the cultural awareness you can gain and also to remind ourselves that greed is a sin; it causes trouble and heartache and makes no one a better person.

Content Info: profanity, nudity, sexual language, some violence (you don’t see it).

My rating (1-5 stars): ***

Wendy and Lucy

A simple tale of a troubled young woman trying to get to Alaska with her dog, Lucy. Whatever drove her onto this journey into an unknown continues to haunt her as she tries to make it in a broken-down car with very little money. She makes desperate choices and loses Lucy. We spend most of the time in the film trying to find Lucy again all while running into other human beings, both good and bad. We fear for Wendy’s safety and cry with her in her loneliness but grow to love her even as we see and accept her struggling child choices.

Why see this film?: Reminds us 1) that “if you can’t afford dog food you shouldn’t have a dog” and 2) don’t camp in the woods if you don’t know what’s there.

Content Info: profanity (the bad stuff).

My rating (1-5 stars): ***

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