Today was Day 8, making this the penultimate night of Toronto After Dark 2012. At this point, only four films remain – two shorts and two features. However, before I start ruminating over the sadness that is post-TADFF life, I’ll give you a rundown of what happened this evening at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in beautiful Downtown Toronto, Ontario…
The evening kicked off with the Canadian short Alchemy And Other Imperfections, which the TADFF site describes as being about a woman who “makes a desperate bid to rid her husband of a memory that has soured their love and left them ostracized from the outside world.” I honestly couldn’t sum it up any better than that, which is why I felt the need to use a quote. Anyhow, the short was very interesting and well done, featuring a lot of fantastical imagery and some beautiful effects work; definitely one to watch, if you get the chance.
Next up was the first feature of the evening, In Their Skin, which is the feature debut of Director Jeremy Power Regimbal. The film was formerly known as Replicas, but the choice was (wisely) made to change the title because it sounded too much like a sci-fi flick, and the story centers on a family whose cottage vacation is interrupted by a home invasion of sorts; courtesy of a family that is hell-bent on taking their identities and “perfect lives.” I’ll stop there, but not before telling you that I absolutely loved this film. To me, this was the most suspenseful film of the festival so far, and it oozed with tension throughout. Couple that with a satisfying script, some great (and emotional) performances, and solid direction from Regimbal (who also was there for a Q&A after the film, which I recorded and will be available in the future), and you have a clear winner. The movie comes out theatrically in Canada tomorrow, but US readers can watch it now on VOD, courtesy of IFC Midnight, and it is getting a limited theatrical release stateside in early November. Do yourself a favor and check it out. For more on In Their Skin, use the link above to go to its official TADFF page.
Next was another Canadian short film, A Pretty Funny Story. The short is about a family whose patriarch catches a neighbor doing something embarrassing, resulting in one of the strangest blackmail schemes ever. Equally funny, odd, and even creepy at times, the film went over very well with the audience, and I have to admit, I enjoyed it quite a bit (and definitely more than the feature that followed). Seek this one out.
Though I admit that A Pretty Funny Story was perfectly paired with the second feature of the night, Wrong, I didn’t enjoy the latter anywhere near as much. Wrong is the latest film from Writer/Director Quentin Depieux, who brought us Rubber – another film that showed at TADFF – back in 2010. Simply put, if you were on board with Rubber (I was not), I’d wager that you will like Wrong on at least some level. On its most basic level, the story is about a man who wakes one day to find that his dog has gone missing and then encounters all manner of absurdity while searching for his lost pet. I realize that is not very descriptive, but honestly, Wrong is absurd surrealist cinema, and the set pieces that make up the film are only loosely tied to the main catalyst of the “story.” Instead, it feels like a string of bizarre sketches that feature people interacting awkwardly with one another in a world where nothing makes much of any sense. As I mentioned, I did not like Rubber, and Wrong did not do anything to change my mind about Depieux or his work. It’s worth noting that I was in the minority of critics/bloggers at the festival, but even the proponents of the film admit that it’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie. If seeing movies that are weird simply for the sake of being weird is your thing, then I guess you might like this. I did not, and as such, can’t recommend it to anyone who falls outside of the previously mentioned audiences. For more on Wrong, visit its TADFF page using the provided link above.
That just about wraps up the evening movie-wise. Things were pretty tame at the pub afterwards, and I only stayed until a little past 1am, but this is probably the calm before the storm, as tomorrow is the Closing Night Gala of TADFF 2012. On the slate are the new film starring Simon Pegg, A Fantastic Fear Of Everything, and Game Of Werewolves, a movie featuring, well, werewolves… I can only imagine that the party after the second feature will be pretty crazy, so don’t expect a write-up first thing on Saturday morning. I’ll get one up there for you all, but I may need to sleep a little in there.
Anyway, as always, for more on the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, be sure to check out their Official Website. You can also find all of our other TADFF 2012-related coverage in our archived posts, and don’t forget to check out our podcasts – especially our most recent one, Dead After Dark: TADFF 2012 Live Pubcast – as there is a lot of TADFF goodness to be found.
Happy trails, and see you After Dark!