Editor’s Notes: The following capsule reviews are part of our coverage of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. For more information on the festival visit http://tiff.net and follow TIFF on Twitter at @TIFF_NET.
A Single Body
Dir. Sotiris Dounoukos
Beneath the cool blue colour palette and sparse dialogue is a visually powerful tableau of physical existence. Juxtaposed with the carcasses of dead animals in an abattoir, the fragility of the human body becomes tantamount to gruesome slaughter.
Best friends David and Wani discuss their future: opening their own abattoir, finding wives, etc. Their future together cut short by a faulty machine, David grieves his friend’s death. In two greatly affective shots, David stands before a hanging cow, its dead body looming over him. In deep contemplation, the orchestral sounds of slaughtering machines shapes a grisly, disturbing, yet humble portrait of a man lost for words.
His grief taken out on a new employee, Patate, whose lack of training may have played a part in Wani’s death, David searches for meaning in a place where there is none. In a slow, still shot, a cow is split in half by a cutting machine, presumably reflecting how easily Wani’s body was pierced by the sharp blade of the new machine. Dounoukos’ excellent short film concludes with a montage of working bodies, powerful machines, and pieces of meat. Ultimately a machine in itself, the activities of a slaughterhouse is harshly related to the insensitive nature of machine equipment. Essentially, in an abattoir, humans are killing machines.
A Single Body will screen on Friday, September 12 as part of the festival’s Short Cuts International Programme 1.
Dir. Martin Edralin
Hole presents a modern world of increasing technology, insensitivity, and incommunicability. Billy, a middle aged disabled man, has no one in his lonesome life. In miserable isolation, his only form of sensory pleasure comes from the classical music he listens to. But he is no different from others: he craves the physical attention of another person, and, at the least, he craves carnal affection as a form of this.
Struggling to get out of his sheets and into his pants, Billy’s experience is a humbling one. Craig, the only person in his life, visits and aids him in his daily activities, but Billy is a stubborn and independent man whose simple dreams of holding hands or embracing another can never be realized. This is not only because of his disability but because of how people look at him.
In search of anonymity, Billy enters a peep show where he can view pornography. A hole to his left allows a man to enter his penis, which Billy quickly attends to. When it comes Billy’s turn, however, his disability prevents him. Stuck in a wheelchair, he can’t stand up in order to enter the glory hole.
Though somewhat discomforting, Hole is greatly candid. It seeks realism, and this is a real issue for disabled people. In Billy’s mind, sexuality exists, but he recognizes that no one will look at him as a sexual partner. This glory hole, as a result, becomes his ultimate ideal. His yearning to connect with someone in the insensitive 2000s has been reduced to one minute of pleasure in a glory hole.
Hole will screen tonight and tomorrow, Monday September 8, as part of the festival’s Short Cuts Canada Programme 3.