TIFF 2106: a look back

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A summary of my ten days at TIFF'16.

But first, a few gripes:
- It's getting harder to be a TIFF patron, especially when they've not only raised the price to more than twice your regular ticket ($34/single ticket), but they've also increased it further when the tickets are in demand. My eyes felt a little gouged out this time around.
- Late comers expecting others to move to accommodate their wish to sit the whole family together, when perfectly available rows (albeit not as good) are theirs to move together to.
- Having to up my game to close to 2 hours line up time. People, you be killin' me.

All things considered, it was a pretty good TIFF, given that it only rained on my last day, and I only hated one of my 17 films (see below). And I got to be close to Werner Herzog! Except for my getting sick part, vacation well spent.

ranked based on a mix of favouritism and superiority

01. Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea; Rosi)
02. Nocturama (Bonello)
03. Sieranevada (Puiu)
04. La Tortue rouge (The red turtle; de Wit)
05. Moonlight (Jenkins)
06. Umi yori mo Mada Fukaku (After the storm; Koreeda)
07. Hymyilevä mies (The happiest day in the life of Olli Mäki; Kuosmanen)
08. Toni Erdmann (Ade)
09. Divines (Benyamina)
10. Neruda (Larraín)
11. Forushande (The Salesman; Farhadi)
12. Nocturnal Animals (Ford)
13. Frantz (Ozon)
14. Into the Inferno (Herzog)
15. Bacalaureat (Graduation; Mungiu)
16. Smrt u Sarajevu (Death in Sarajevo; Tanovic)
17. Fuchi ni tatsu (Harmonium; Fukada)

Directors (and their winning bit)
01. Gianfranco Rosi / Fire at sea: he refuses to play within the documentary feature parameters, and makes a compelling story as seamless as that of a fictional narrative auteur. Winning bit: sound weaving in and out of the boat rescue, accompanying the slow, restrained camera work that's never exploitative or hurried.
02. Bertrand Bonello / Nocturama: Bonello gives Tom Ford a run for his money in the art of making things look cool and stylish, while staying bold and relevant with social discourse. Winning bit: making co-ordinated attacks (both from the teenagers, and later their hunters) feel exceedingly intense, complicated and disconcerting.
03. Cristi Puiu / Sieranevada: he makes me believe life goes on off camera. Winning bit: the camera pans away from a scene in a room, seemingly heading to another room when, unexpectedly, it pans back to the same scene in the room, giving the impression that we've been called back for further exploration.
04. Pablo Larraín / Neruda: fittingly, he peruses a poetic film structure to bring to life an unknown part of a poet. Winning bit: stringing emotional connections between scenes and characters by literally reframing these characters so that all other contextual elements disappear from the screen.
05. Maren Ade / Toni Erdmann: she brings a uniquely apt take on the challenging dramedy genre. Winning bit: Ines celebrates her birthday. Brilliant, hysterical bit of comedy mixed with shock and sadness.


01. Sandra Hüller - Toni Erdmann
02. Alex Hibbert / Ashton Sanders / Trevante Rhodes - Moonlight
03. Michael Shannon - Nocturnal Animals
04. Oulaya Amamra - Divines
05. Kirin Kiki - After the storm

Comments (to be written in future posts...)

The State of the World - Fire at Sea and Nocturama
Why Characters Matter - Harmonium and Death in Sarajevo
The Camera's Presence - Sieranevada, Neruda and Divines
Unexpected Stories - Toni Erdmann, The happiest day in the life of Olli Maki, Moonlight



Recently Seen (out of *****)

  • One night in Miami (King, 2020) ***
  • Mank (Fincher, 2020) ***1/2
  • Coming 2 America (Brewer, 2021) **1/2
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Wolfe, 2020) ***1/2
  • I care a lot (Blakeson, 2020) **

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