BIFF16 REVIEW: Mercy [2016]

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“Why would you let her suffer?” It’s practically impossible to talk about what’s happening in Chris Sparling‘s latest thriller Mercy without spoiling it. The writer/director knows, splitting it into three pieces as a result: the first third completely shrouded in mystery, the next a replay from alternative perspectives, and the last the truth of the […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Off the Rails [2016]

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“I’m volunteering my time” It starts as a lark: Darius McCollum led away in handcuffs with smile ear-to-ear. We think this is a guy having fun pretending to be a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee. He knows what he’s doing, never hurts a soul, and gets people where they’re going on time whether by subway […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: 2307: Winter’s Dream [2016]

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“I guess Hell finally froze over” The year is 2307 and Earth is three centuries removed from climate change transforming its surface to glacial ice. Humanity has evolved to living underground, improving technology to help sustain their tenuous ecosystem outside of the subzero temperatures. This includes insulation injections to combat cold for up to 48-hours, […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present [2016]

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“No LSD needed” When Tony Conrad passed away in April 2016, I knew of him as an experimental filmmaker. It’s hard to be an art student at the University at Buffalo—despite his teaching in Media Studies rather than Fine Art—and not know his name at the very least. But that was all I knew: a […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Tower [2016]

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“Stay away from the university area” My first experience with rotoscope animation was probably Richard Linklater‘s Waking Life in 2001. I found it a fascinating technique retaining the live action movement and reality while allowing the room to add dream-like flourishes of fantasy that fit the frame aesthetically. You don’t care when someone’s head becomes […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Gold Star [2016]

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“I wish I could stop worrying about everything” I know what Victoria Negri‘s debut feature Gold Star is about even if it never quite finds the footing to fulfill its promise. It’s about a young woman trapped in a life she never thought she’d lead as a part-time fitness club employee who’s lost the nerve […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: La Mujer del Animal [The Animal’s Wife] [2016]

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“What am I paying for?” Colombia’s tourism department won’t be sanctioning Víctor Gaviria‘s La Mujer del Animal [The Animal’s Wife] anytime soon and I definitely will never be visiting to see how accurate a depiction of life there it proves. This film is two-hours of sadism at the hands of Tito Alexander Gómez Arias’ Libardo […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Indivisibili [Indivisible] [2016]

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“Can we at least see what’s possible?” It starts off so magically with conjoined twins Dasy (Angela Fontana) and Viola (Marianna Fontana) bringing hope and the word of God to the unfortunate souls languishing in poverty just north of Naples, Italy. They’re blissful when singing, eating up the attention and love from their parents Peppe […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: טהורה לעד [Tehora la’ad] [Forever Pure] [2016]

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“My heart will always stay yellow and black” Just when you think it can’t get worse—that the vocal, racist minority spewing bile will be extinguished in a show of tide-turning empathy—everything is literally engulfed in flames as a city watches it burn to cheers from a cesspool of hate. This is the 2012-2013 season for […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Bar Bahar [In Between] [2016]

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“Don’t let on that you know what you’re doing” It’s Tel Aviv in 2016 and the parties are wild. Drinking, dancing, snorting, kissing—it’s time for twenty-year olds to have fun and be alive. But whereas in America you’d get looks of jealousy at best or judgment at worst, culture dictates heavier consequences for three Palestinian […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Goldstone [2016]

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“This land ain’t no place for a young girl” Another missing girl has Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) on the move while the world continues to turn a blind eye. This time it isn’t an aboriginal, though, the aftermath of his work in Mystery Road culminating in a shootout with everyone dead but he a […]