Thursday, 8 September 2011

TIFF 11: I Triple Dog Dare You!

Up for a challenge? Then I triple dog dare you to go and see these two films: Julia Loktev's The Loneliest Planet and Béla Tarr's The Turin Horse. As I always say, you take yourself to the movies, so how you react to any film will be coloured by your experiences and your personality. If you think you can handle two very beautiful films that are not fast-paced, where you have to fill in the silences yourself, and where you have to watch how the director stages scenes and positions the actors within those frames, then take a chance on these.

A couple (Gael García Bernal and Hani Furstenberg) take a tour of Georgia with their guide (Bidzina Gujabidze). There is a lot of walking and talking, a lot of greenery (breathtaking mountains and valleys) and minimal action. The sound design and music captivates as well as it enhances the vistas, filling silences with emotions that complement the unfolding story. Along the journey, we get to know more about the lives of the trio and we are lulled into thinking we know them until a pivotal moment in the film where something occurs in the blink of an eye--no, no one has to hack their leg off with a pocket knife! The moment will make you question your own response to the situation that occurs. Director, Loktev gives you plenty of time to ponder what happens, as there is no quick escape out of the mountains, there is no taxi to call, no door to slam while you contemplate. I hate seeing actors "act", but I do enjoy watching characters think, and that is exactly what you see when you look at each person on screen. Intrigued? I certainly hope so!

Monday September 12, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, 8:00pm
Tuesday September 13, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, 9:00am
Sunday September 18, Isabel Bader Theatre,10:00am

Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, I bow to you! You will too, if you give yourself a chance to watch and listen to this movie. A father and daughter (Erika Bók, János Derzsi), a stubborn horse, and the wind (yes, the wind) are the central characters in this film. The daily rituals of life are played out mostly in silence except for the almost human wailing of the blowing wind, a constant companion that envelops and covers everything around it in a shroud of dust and leaves. So, why do I love this film? Because of where the co-directors choose place the camera; the silvery hue of the black and white they have chosen to use; the way Fred Kelemen's camera moves slowly in on faces, and out on landscapes and interiors; the manner in which corners of the house and barn are revealed to us, adding interest to repeated scenes by showing us a new way to view them, and... multiple other reasons that I want you to experience. This plays in the Master's programme at TIFF giving you another reason besides my own for seeing this film.

Thursday September 15, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, 9:30pm
Friday September 16, Scotiabank Theatre 4, 6:15pm
Sunday September 18,TIFF Bell Lightbox 3, 12:30pm

If you choose to accept my dare, then please leave a comment letting me know about your reaction--good or bad. THANKS--dg

Toronto International Film Festival
Sept. 8-18, 2011

416-599-8433 or 1-800-599-8433

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