First Day at TIFF

Sep 8, 2016 by Kristin Morris on The Nickelodeon Blog

Just wrapped my first day of screenings and it was a whirlwind. After you spend seven hours watching films you feel like you want to remove your eyeballs and put them in a glass of water.

But regardless – I saw some great films today! I began my day with The Handmaiden by Chan-wook Park. My only regret was watching it first in the festival because I enjoyed it so much. It’s gorgeous, the acting is wonderful, and the story structure is perfect. It’s full of surprises and twists and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Second was Neruda by Pablo Larraín. I went into this one instead of Elle (dir Paul Verhoeven) and hadn’t done much reading on it beforehand. I was under the assumption it was a biopic, but it ended up being so much more. It twists and turns and genre hops, but tells a story that is both truth and fiction in a way that is a beautiful homage to the poet.

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The last screening I attended was The Bad Batch by Ana Lily Amirpour (who also directed A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night). I ran into a colleague before this screening and they convinced me to attend. Again – I knew essentially nothing but waited in line (for the first time all day) to get a seat. In the few minutes before the screening I do a quick Google search and see the headline “Cannibal Apocalypse Drama” so I knew I was in store for *something*. The film opens and we’re shown almost immediately that Vice is a producer, so that set a tone for sure. Oh, and we’re watching this film in an IMAX theater – so that means huge in-your-face meat cleaver and blood action. This film is beautiful and the music/sfx play a huge role. The environment is set up perfectly, but something about the story fell flat. I love the desert and dystopias so I wanted to like this, but I only sort of liked it. Honestly, with big names like Keanu Reeves, Jim Carey, Diego Luna and Giovani Ribisi, I think Jason Momoa gave the best performance. Suki Waterhouse was also good, but the chemistry between the two main characters (Waterhouse and Momoa) was so lacking it almost felt awkward. It’s cool and trendy so it could get some late night screenings, but it hasn’t been picked up for distribution yet, so we shall see.

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That’s my first full day at TIFF. I’ve had to miss two of the films I said I wanted to watch earlier, but I’m really pleased with my selections so far. Tomorrow is another full day. Let’s see if I can keep up with the blog! Did you know Canadian money is plastic?!

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