Friday Fish

One day to go! Wow! When the Toronto International Film Festival began it seemed like it was going to last forever and there is only one more day. The festival has been great. With the organization evident here, I’m sure that the bugs we all experienced at the new AMC venue will be worked out by next year, which is good. That has been the only inconvenience that I have experienced although other people I talked to had issues with their place in the random box selection. That, however, is what “random” means, isn’t it? You take your chances, people! I had to laugh at some of the complaints about not getting the 10 films they wanted and having to go to the box office and stand in line trying to get tickets. Try getting 50 films the first day of the festival and see how that goes for you! That is what I did and it, as you can see, has worked out just fine for me. If you want and will only be satisfied if you get the 10 films you have selected when you have over 300 to choose from you are severely limiting yourselves. There are some incredible films here and some of the best are the obscure, the “Kabuli Kid”s, the “Maman est chez le Coiffeur”s, the “Pandora’s Box”s. Why get all mad that you didn’t get your ticket to “Burn after Reading” or “Slumdog Millionaire” when they’re just coming to the theater next month anyway?! Good Grief, people, relax and enjoy the incredible festival that you have right here at home! I’m making reference here to actual conversations I have overheard either in line or sitting in the theater waiting for films to start. Yes, I listen to other people’s conversations.

By the way, since I’m on a rant, some people should NOT eat popcorn in movies!

Enough for the ranting, I’ll post only one film today:

Kabuli Kid — Afghanistan

A woman leaves her baby in a taxi in Kabul. The story then takes us on a cultural journey through the Afghan capital as the taxidriver searches for the baby’s mother. We look through a window into today’s Kabul and Afghan culture and see family life, living, and working in this war-ravaged country. The taxi driver takes the baby home to his family and we see his feelings gradually deepen as he is told the story of Solomon, the two mothers and the child and begins to better understand motherhood and realize the complexity of life and how a mother could “forget” her child. Motherhood and family on a canvas shadowed by war are the primary themes. A must-see for anyone interested in the human side of Afghanistan.

****

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TIFF Tuesday

Quote for the day: “That’s life, man; you give in to it sooner or later.” from Pandora’s Box.

No pics for today, I’m too tired to do anything but the film list for the day ranked in rating order.

Pandora’s Box — Turkish

Probably the most touching film I’ve seen thus far, Pandora’s Box is a Turk/Belg/French/German collaboration on a story about a family dealing with their mother/grandmother’s Alzheimer’s. The poignancy intensified as I became aware of an elderly gentleman a couple of seats from me softly crying for about the last half of the movie. Cinematography, music and acting combine and gently guide the viewer through the emotional explosions that occur as each member of the family copes with rough edges of personal issues made jagged by the new complication. The theme of ‘letting go’ weaves through each life even as newly discovered relationships grow. A truly beautiful film in every way.

*****

Two-legged Horse — Iran, filmed in Afghanistan

“Brutal; harrowing”; “I’m still shaking;” “Several people had to walk out” These are comments I overheard from a man describing his experience in Two-legged Horse to a friend. He’s right. The dehumanization depicted in this film by Iranian director, Samira Makhmalbaf, makes one more anti-war statement as do many of this year’s films. The Director of Programming for the Contemporary World Cinema program at TIFF introduced the film and the director, warning that “this is a hard, harsh film. It will chill you; it will jar you; that is the intent of the film.” I didn’t leave as I did in Firaaq but many others did and I was actually glad to see that people were deeply troubled. We should all be troubled by the effects of war and how it changes us. We cannot escape the effects and the costs of war. We are human beings and there are those in our world who are suffering in ways we cannot comprehend. We MUST be troubled and then we must act or nothing will change!

****

L’ Empreinte de L’Ange — French (Canadian)

Back to mothers. New twist on an old theme, this one is based on a true story. Woman sees little girl and begins obsessing about her being the baby who died. Good performances. I kept waiting for it to follow the direction I thought it was leading and was nicely surprised! Not great, but good and worth a watch.

***

Krabat — German

A group of twelve boys led by a master sorcerer in the post-thirty years war Germany. Probably too dark for kids but would be fun for junior high aged kids. CGI is very good (better than Mongol). It moved well, acting was okay, visually pleasing, just fun entertainment.

***

Tokyo Sonata — Japanese

My least favorite for today, this is another family drama. The film could have been 30 minutes shorter and still maintained its integrity. Too much drama, too much melodrama, just plain too much! I also don’t care for seeing kids get hit by parents, period. I know it’s part of the story but I don’t like it!

*