TIFF Halfway

Part of a conversation going on behind me in the pre-show chatter: “Ethnic food? Ethnic food. What do you mean “ethnic?” Isn’t it all the same?”

From the director of White Night Wedding regarding film, happiness, films about being happy, etc.: “It’s easier to make films about being happy than to be happy.”

These are the films I saw Monday:

Teza — Ethiopia.

Man who left the country to study in Germany in 70s and 80s returns idealistically planning on curing the diseases of his country and the world. He faces the realities of living through a series of flashbacks that tell his story and the story of a war-ravaged country and a devastated people. Throughout the film, however, the focus remains on family and the love and commitment in these human connections.

*****

Machan — Sri Lanka

I had forgotten about the news story of an actual event in 2004 that is the basis for this film. This is a  “maybe it happened like this” fictionalized story of a group of men trying to live and support their families in the extreme poverty of Colombo, Sri Lanka and what they are willing to do.

****

White Night Wedding — Iceland

Little tiny island in Iceland. People on little tiny island in Iceland. People and their relationships on little tiny island in Iceland. Funny in a dark, Icelandic sort of way. Darker than Waking Ned and more wryly enjoyable than hilariously funny.

****

My Mother, My Bride and I — German

Film about a man living in rural Bavaria with his mother who decides to “hire” a wife from Romania. Fun, not fun, tender story about loneliness, commitment, mothers. Good acting.

***

The Country Teacher — Czech

Young man struggling with his homosexuality leaves Prague to teach in a rural school. He is gradually absorbed into the local culture and makes momentary choices and lifechanging decisions.

***

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