REVIEW: Driven [2015]


“You need to start being there for him” Writer/director Ali Y. Akarcesme‘s latest short Driven is full of questions that may or may not need answers. It deals with Nicole (Sandy Pasquale) and her son Josh (Joseph Minogue) trying to accept a new dynamic at home without the man who had been playing husband and […]

REVIEW: Total Performance [2015]


“You’re never going to see me again” The premise behind Sean Meehan‘s latest short is fascinating with its titular business Total Performance providing a service that supplies actors who spar with customers seeking a dress rehearsal for whatever difficult conversation they’ve yet to work themselves up to starting. We meet a distraught husband in need […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Waves ’98 [2015]


“It feels like everything is stuck in a loop” Downtown Beirut is Waves ’98‘s lead character Omar’s (Elie Bassila)—a virtual, teenage stand-in for writer/director Ely Dagher—”white whale”. It’s a world he has yet to experience close-up, relegated to peering over and through concrete buildings from his safe suburban rooftop at a city split in two […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Maman(s) [2015]


“I’m drowning in it now” Young Aida (Sokhna Diallo) is forced to process a lot on the day her father (Eriq Ebouaney‘s Alioune) returns to Paris from Senegal after two months away. First is the joyous laughter of mom (Maïmouna Gueye‘s Mariam) and her friends burning an herbal aphrodisiac up her dress. Next is the […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Viaduc [Overpass] [2015]


“Your brother’s plane arrives at 5 PM” Writer/director Patrice Laliberté‘s short film Viaduc [Overpass] relies heavily on our suppositions as the viewer. And it does so to perfection. To us Mathieu (Téo Vachon Sincennes) has done nothing to earn the benefit of the doubt. Not only do we meet him sneaking out to illegally spray […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: かくれんぼ [Hide & Seek] [2015]


“I can’t be like mom” There are no easy answers when it comes to psychological and emotional conditions. What a “normal” person believes to be so easy could very well prove impossible for another no matter how mundane or seemingly harmless the task might appear. Kimie Tanaka‘s short かくれんぼ [Hide & Seek] depicts this struggle […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Dragstrip [2015]


“So hike up your pants and tighten your shoes. We’re going racing soon.” The Toronto International Film festival programmers are selling Daniel Claridge and Pacho Velez‘s short documentary Dragstrip as an “exhilarating blast of raw Americana”, but I’m not sure if it isn’t actually evidence of our affinity with the mundane instead. Shot at the […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] [2015]


“Green, how I want you green.” Animator Theodore Ushev embraces yet another visual style to treat us with at the Toronto International Film Festival. From conté crayon images rotoscoped atop Jafar Panahi in 2012’s Joda to the Cubist/Constructivist homage of 2013’s Gloria Victoria, his latest Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] delves into Abstract Expressionism bearing to mind […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Semele [2015]


“Out of the way, kid” As children we crave time with our parents—especially when quality family outings prove few and far between. The titular Semele (Vasiliki Kokkoliadi) in Myrsini Aristidou‘s short film will do anything to force some face-to-face, even going so far as hitch-hiking her way to the carpentry plant where her father works […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Under Rymdskeppet [Beneath the Spaceship] [2015]


“Don’t change a winning recipe” What’s the age cut-off for friendship? It’s an interesting notion to consider because at a certain point a noticeable difference becomes intrinsically pedophilic in the eyes of society. Where a neighbor can befriend someone young as a babysitter, alternate parental figure, etc., as soon as the child hits puberty the […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Bunny [2015]


“Friends of your springtime / they are all vanishing / fleeing to fables” Some films end with me desperately trying to find a way to love them to no avail. Megha Ramaswamy‘s Bunny is just such a piece. It is beautifully shot with a Wes Anderson sense of whimsical artifice that’s devoid of dialogue besides […]