The festival is over, and I’m as of writing this 10 films deep (but will be at more by the time this goes up). More writing is coming, but in the meanwhile, here are a few films that I want to say a few things.
Near the end of the summer, Jay Baruchel put out Random Acts of Violence, and during the film, I thought about copy cats and the culture of blaming art for violence. In Prano Bailey-Bond’s debut film Censor, the topic is also scratched at but not properly itched. So now I’m just waiting for a film to actively tackle this topic again. Censor is a love letter to the video nasties era of the early 1980s and the brutality that was casually showcased in the films. But, also to the censor board, who witnessed these exploitation films and decided how many cuts to fit a proper release. While the film doesn’t feel as if it fully fits with this era, it’s perfectly set in the 80s in the UK. Enid (Niamh Algar) works at the censor board, watching intense depictions of violence but never battling an eye. Until one day, she watches a film that might be the answer to finding her missing sister. There is a lot in common with the last memories she has of her sister before she disappeared. Niamh’s performance is worth the price of admission alone, portraying Enid, someone right on the edge of breaking down and losing sanity due to her history. Another thing that is worth the price of admission is the use of colours and the lighting. The reds are absolutely beautiful and stunning. I liked a lot of the factors of the film, but couldn’t gel with the film once it was pieced all together. It was a film that I loved the execution of it, but not the film itself.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The flow of a festival is very important. We’ve already discussed the opening film CODA, but Knocking was the first film out of the festival that I got to see. It was everything I wanted and in actuality, it set a high bar for the rest of the festival. Knocking follows Molly (Cecilia Milocco) alone in an apartment soon after leaving a psychiatric ward and is left still trying to process a traumatic event. While she’s struggling at home in her apartment and as she tries to sleep while her mind is racing, she hears knocking and noises from the apartment above hers. Since Molly has recently left the psychiatric ward, director Frida Kempff and writer Emma Broström give us an unreliable narrator and we’re constantly wondering what is actually real. This is a common trope that debatedly is used sometimes too often and while I’m not always a fan of the trope, it’s how well it’s utilized and I think Knocking uses it very well.
A film that definitely won’t be for everyone. I’ve seen some people state that maybe this film needed a trigger warning, and it probably should. Mother Schmuckers feels like the Safdie brothers tackling a John Waters film, with Jean-Luc Godard’s erractic style of editing. It’s currently the film I laughed the most at about it’s absurdity.
First Date is about potentially the worst first date possible. Clearly inspired from other all in One Night films like Superbad. First Date‘s script had me laughing constantly, whether it be in the great scene in which word “ball sack” is thrown around more than the amount of Sundance films I’ve seen so far. I was able to see the film before the festival and spoke to the directors and the two stars. Their first time at Sundance and mine as well. That interview will be coming up very soon.