My time in Toronto is wrapping up. I’ll screen a couple films today and perhaps 1 film early tomorrow before I head to the airport. It’s been a blast so far, but I am starting to drag.
The first film I saw yesterday was IGNACI M. – a Spanish documentary about an artist. Brought up in a home with a mother and father who were also artists, this is an exploration of his relationships with his parents, children, and others in the community. Ignaci is a colorful, gay, HIV+ man who takes 29 pills every day (the opening of the film has him explaining each pill – which is funny and heartbreaking all at once) and is willing to speak frankly with anyone. Though I found this piece interesting, some of the interviews go on way too long. I felt as though the editor was stretching this film to make it a feature – whereas it would make a much stronger 30-40 minute portrait. (The cheesy photoshoot moments didn’t help matters.)
THE RAILWAY MAN, based on a memoir by Eric Lomax, is the story of a man who is dealing with the demons of having been tortured while a prisoner of the Japanese troops in Thailand. Starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman (among many other great performances in the flashback scenes), this film has lush visuals and strong performances. Lomax, in real life, died just last year…and the director of the film told the audience “Lomax loved that Colin Firth was playing him…his wife Patti was at the festival earlier in the week…she loved being here with her best friend Nicole.” This film is well done, and it will appeal to people who love historical, war dramas – like THE EMPEROR from earlier this year.
SALVATION ARMY is a quiet, directorial debut for Abdellah Taia – based on his own semi-autobiographical novel. This is the story of a young Moroccan boy who is discovering his sexuality and social codes in Casablanca. Told in two parts, we see his upbringing and familial relations…then we see him off to study in Geneva – where more political and social obstacles lay in wait. With very little dialog and told in a very matter-of-fact style, this film is certainly not for everyone…but I liked it quite a bit. (Below is just a clip – a trailer doesn’t exist yet.)
And off I go to start my day.
Thanks for reading!