Browsing: TIFF Film Series

Reviews f52e2fdd91bad614a4e53ffdcfe865b5

A bored TV viewer flips through channels looking for something to incite the senses, but the safe nationalist pap being crooned by some Swedish Pat Boone isn’t going to do it. The unseen television viewer acts as our navigator through the world of Ruben Östlund’s The Guitar Mongoloid and he surfs the sin waves of the analog ether in search of something honest. Our first stop is the rooftop of some apartment complex where the satellite dishes are being attacked and …

NP Approved eb04e3870caf58f04b406b958dbebaca

Even in the context of liberalized and freewheeling Pre-Code Hollywood, The Bitter Tears of General Yen stands out. A daring story of forbidden attraction between an American Christian missionary and a Chinese warlord, the film was the first to open at Radio City Music Hall in 1933 but proved controversial and failed at the box-office. Both director Frank Capra and star Barbara Stanwyck nevertheless remained quite proud of their work and blamed its financial failure on a …

NP Approved b9875cb241f5dadde3705969884b42eb

It takes just minutes to realize that the plot of A Separation, director Asghar Farhadi’s Academy Award winning 2012 film, is at most an endeavor into the complicated domestic life of an Iranian middle-class family. Like many of Farhadi’s films, the arduous obstacles around familial clashes (in this case, the eponymous separation between a husband and wife) become more convoluted by the second, often …

Reviews b920a59f3354b01fa0eec22c1db1df85

Hamid Hamoun, an unsettled member of the Iranian middle-class, works as a salesman by day and an aspiring writer at night. After an alarming and ambiguous dream sequence, Hamoun opens with the title character bunkered up in a barren apartment, clothes, dishes, and his PhD materials strewn about. From the outset, Hamoun is noticeably flustered: he wakes from a dream involving a devilish figure and a ….

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In film noir, nothing good comes out of the past, but the present ain’t so hot, either, and anyone with an ounce of self preservation knows that someone who speaks of a bright future ahead is offering up a hot, steaming plate of false promises. Though it rejects the past as well as any other film noir of the period, Louise Milestone’s The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) also stated that the only way to survive was …

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Charming, engaging and humane, Abbas Kiarostami’s Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987) was the first film by the Iranian director to gain significant attention outside of his home country. In this simple tale, young Mohamed Reda Nematzadeh (Ahmed Ahmed Poor) is scolded by his teacher (Kheda Barech Defai), not for failing to do his homework, but for failing to write it all down in his notebook.

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Preston Sturges was one of the great talents to emerge in the 1940s. One of the first writer/directors in the Hollywood studio system, he made a string of great films over the course of about four years starting with his debut The Great McGinty in 1940, The Lady Eve and perhaps his masterpiece Sullivan’s Travels in 1941, The Palm Beach Story in 1942 …

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Regarded as one of the pillars of Iranian cinema, Kamran Shirdel’s The Night it Rained is a film that illustrates the tenuous nature of truth as we explore an event as it is presented to us by government officials, members of the press, villagers, and railroad workers that offer diametrically opposed accounts of what really happened on one fateful rainy night …

Reviews Millennium Mambo Review

Vicky (Qi Shu), the twenty-something at the center of Hou Hsaio-Hsien’s Millennium Mambo, is stuck in a rut. Long after dropping out of high school, and far from any reasonable, sustainable lifestyle (which would hypothetically include gainful employment, and hypothetically not filled with hard drugs and a controlling, abusive boyfriend), Vicky …

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