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I always try and see at least one film in the DISCOVERY programme at TIFF. This section is reserved for "up-and-coming directors from around the world". AVALON was born out of writer/director, Alex Petersén's familiarity with the world of aging boomers and the city of Båstad, which used to be a place where Swedish tennis legends like Bjorn Borg once played. Infused with the language and tone of his Aunt, Leonore Ekstrand (who plays Jackie in the film) and the adults around him while he was growing up, Petersén's has created a world in which his characters live without regard for others around them. Petersén's understated script successfully reveals the disconnect between lead character, Janne (Johannes Brost), a promoter whose heyday seems to be on the brink of returning with the opening of his nightclub (Avalon) and his best mate, Klas (Peter Carlberg) and the much younger workers whom they have hired to launch the club. At one point, one of the workers admits confusion about Janne's role in the nightclub! This selfish, insular nature of Janne, Klas and their friend, Jackie, (who constantly has a drink in her hand) manifests itself in a variety of ways that lead to a reckless moment that causes Janne a day or two of guilt before he reverts to his old familiar habits thanks to an equally bad solution by Klas and foggy complicity by Jackie.

AVALON is a compact 76 minutes, in which Alex Petersén demonstrates that he has an ear for dialogue and an eye for recording behaviour that in perfectly in tone with real life. I look forward to seeing where his film and screenwriting career will take him, especially with a film with a larger cast and a longer run time. My grade rating for this first timer, is a solid B+.

Saturday September 17, AMC 10, 6:00pm

Toronto International Film Festival
Sept. 8-18, 2011

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


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