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TIFF Day 6: Black Swan, Let Me In & In a Better World

15 September 2010 One Comment

Black Swan
11:00am, VISA Screening Room (Elgin Theatre).

Made a decision to let myself sleep in a bit and catch the train that would get me to Toronto with only a little over 1/2 an hour before Black Swan, so i ended up near the rear of the longest TIFF line I’ve ever seen. So my seat was predictably far back, however, didn’t have to sit in the balcony or anything so terrible as that. Lucky (?) for me no one showed up to the screening (not even Aronofsky!) but i assume that has something to do with it premiering last night, and everyone important was sleeping off their hangovers.

As for the movie itself, it left me a little disappointed. While there is no doubt that Natalie Portman was brilliant, and gave one of the best performances I’ve ever seen, the plot itself, nay even the premise, was weak. Maybe studio execs sat Aronofsky down after ‘The Fountain’ and said something along the lines of “make something more obvious, please”. The symbolism was heavy handed and blatant, which is the exact opposite of what I usually enjoy about his films. From wardrobe to set dressing, this movie was bashing us over the head with dichotomy metaphors; Black vs White, Control vs Instability, and Reality vs Delusion, while the the story itself never really takes us to the emotional place that we need to be to appreciate it. Instead it creates a predictable sort of horror vibe, which I assume was their attempt at transferring some paranoia into us, but (for me anyways) failed.

However, as I said, Natalie Portman is riveting, she does the absolute best with what is given to her, and this entire film may be worth watching again just to see her performance a second time. Also, I think I have proven time and again that I’ll literally watch anything Vincent Cassel is in, literally, anything.

LET ME IN
3:00pm, Ryerson Theatre.

Kudos to Matt Reeves. All I wanted from this film was to take the original source and Not Fuck It Up. Like most fans of the original Let the Right One In, I was asking the question “Why? Why remake a perfectly decent (actually, amazing) film?” this movie made me realize that it needed to be done to bring it to a wider audience. As a fan of independent and international film, I sometimes forget that not everyone is. And sometimes in order to get Regular Everyday Moviegoers interested in something, you need to make it accessible to them. Somehow, Reeves manages to change just enough to make it a film that everyone will want to see, and should enjoy,without removing any of the beauty of the story or the complexity of the characters. Kodi Smit-McPhee is unbelievably good and and i can honestly say that his Owen is as good as Oskar. Chloe Moretz is good, but I still prefer Eli to Abby.

Spoiler Alert: there are no crazed CGI/Puppet Cats :(

IN A BETTER WORLD
7:30pm, Isabel Bader Theatre.

This is the sort of film I come to the film festival to see. Easily one of the best I’ve seen so far this year. A Danish film about two families, how their lives intertwine and the machinations of a particularly vengeful 12 year old boy. With that said it really is an ensemble piece, with each character having their own emotional issues and drama, but in a way that actually carries the story forward. I particularly enjoyed the portions filmed on location in Kenya, where one of the leads travels to and from, using this side story to help us better understand our own morals and opinions about right and wrong, and how under certain circumstances, we are all capable of anything.


Susanne Beirs, Director of In a Better World (aka ‘Hævnen’)

The director was here for a Q&A and while i don’t think she added much information in relation to the movie, i found her approach to film making interesting. Basically, unlike a full-on screenwriter, she writes scenes based on characters she likes, or the other way around. The plots themselves seem to take a back seat, priority wise, but I think that what comes out of that is really fantastic drama.

Thus ends my first Three Movie Day. Sorry if the lack of sleep or marathon line-waiting has effected my brain so much that my reviews are incoherent. Ask me again what I thought of Black Swan in three weeks and it might be my favorite film of all time, who knows ;-)

Not many pics today, too busy/tired, and as we pass the mid-point of the ‘fest fewer and fewer cast & crew are at the screenings.

See all my pictures from today at my TIFF ’10 Day 6 Photo Set on Flickr.

~Chantelle
(@ChantelleJoytwt)
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