Angry Robot

TIFF Day Three

Mmm, my third day of TIFF was much better. Perhaps it’s equal parts personal adjustment to queuing and crowds (something I go way out of my way to avoid in regular life), better choices of film, and all around better luck. I mean, no one likes rushing around to line up for films you find okay or kinda hate, but if the films are good, you take it with a grain of salt, yeah?

Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch was my starter in the morning, and I was quite into it. I confess it’s the first Dumont film I’ve seen, but won’t be the last: it’s a fascinating meditation on religion perfectly married to a compelling plot.

Daybreakers was next. I tried to only get tickets to films that weren’t about to get a release, but in certain cases I couldn’t help myself. If you say “sci-fi vampire film,” I mean I’ve actually watched Bava’s Planet of the Vampires, know what I mean? This had its flaws – wooden dialogue, a little too earnest – but made up for them in sheer inventiveness and entertainment value. Despite the daylight scheduling, the screening was classic midnight madness, with a whooping crowd and a great warm-up from Colin Geddes.

I finished the day with the brooding Viking film Valhalla Rising, another film from a filmmaker I’m slightly ashamed to be unfamiliar with, Nicolas Winding Refn. It was like Bergman doing Conan the Barbarian, with perhaps a little too much emphasis on mood and enigma at the expense of depth. But it gets bonus points for a disembowelment and a mute, one-eyed protagonist like someone from a Leone flick.

My scheduling was still poor today, with a scant 15 minutes to get from film to film, but my trusty bike got me there on time. Directors were present for all three films, but because of my rushed scheduling I only got to hear the Q&A for the last one, which I regret. It’s probably better to allow a lot more time between flicks, especially as they tend to start late.