With every year, there are always a handful of films that I try and champion. Films with little-to-no marketing. This is why I almost have a film end on my list of favourites at the end of the year that nobody has heard of before.
Knives and Skin is definitely one of those movies you’ll hear me rave about for the rest of the year. If you followed any outlets that have been at Tribeca, Overlook or even Fantasia later this year, I know you’re going to hear all about this film. And you very much should. You’re going to hear a lot of similarities to Twins Peaks – and rightfully so.
When I first heard about Adam I wasn’t so sure. It’s a controversial subject. A young man pretends to be trans so he can get a lesbian to fall in love with him. It’s a tricky subject that if handled by the wrong person, it could have been a real disaster. While some aspects of it didn’t sit with me well, it also didn’t do a mockery of everything. And that is a lot due to the fact that the film was directed by Rhys Ernst (Transparent) who himself is a trans man. Had the film been directed by a CIS person, the point of view would have been totally different. Ernst brings a vision and a truth that no one else but him could bring.
While I didn’t see that many films for the festival, it felt good to agree with an award for once. Xiang Zi won an award for Best First Feature and it’s extremely worthy of its award.
The film is a wonderfully unique and exquisite story that with such control from the director. Never allowing you to get further than she wants you to get. On top of that, it’s edited in a very moving and swaying motion. It weaves in and out of everyone’s past, so you’re never aware of where you truly are.
The festival in a way is over for me. I’ve seen 7 films in the theatre and there are four more screeners to make my way to, which also means way more writing for me to do. I’ve so far seen a variety of great things at the festival, and a few parts or maybe one film I didn’t enjoy. Which is a fairly great ratio when it comes to a festival. I know I’m speaking early about that, but I’m also going to speak early on the fact that I don’t see myself falling more in love with a film than I did with Second Star on the Right.
I will start by saying that this was my second time seeing this film. I had the chance to see it during TIFF last year. But as soon as I saw it on the schedule for Inside Out, I knew I wanted to see it again. And just like I remembered, this film might just be one of my favourites.
It’s not perfect but it doesn’t need to be. There’s something very interesting to see a relationship that you know is doomed to develop on the screen. But the fact that Vita and Virginia don’t end up together doesn’t matter because the results are satisfying.
Something I always have thought about doing is programming for a theatre. What sort of films would I show, but also what films could be paired with each other? To program fun double features. I’m positive if I could, I would pair Queering The Script with Scream, Queen! and all would make sense in the world.
Web series can sometimes be tricky because not only is everything done in a much shorter length but they often have such a low budget that not everything can be great. This is maybe why often I tend to not judge web series and just try and enjoy them. But sometimes web series can do more because of the constraint that is put on them. And Anne+ is able to rise above all the constraints and creates a fully fleshed show with just six very short episodes.
Unlike most people I know who are into genre films, I got into them fairly late in comparison. It wasn’t until I was about 15 that I was able to handle them. Seeing The Shining at the age of 10 traumatized me for nearly a month. I remember being in the room at one point as my family watched Freddy Vs. Jason and I realized, maybe it’s not so bad. It was also middle of the day on the weekend with all the lights on, so I got by just fine. It wasn’t until after the film was after that my family members told me that this film wasn’t necessarily scary anyway. “Not like the older Freddy or Jason films.” They were right, but I wasn’t sure how right.
When I sat down for Good Kisser I expected one film and halfway through I realize I was getting something else. And honestly, I am glad. I don’t exactly know what I expected but I think that from the premise I didn’t expect to find a film that is all about empowering yourself and finding your voice.
Picking what to watch at a festival is tough. Sometimes half the battle isn’t just picking the films, it’s also the flow of it all. Which includes how to start and end it. The first and obvious choice was the one they chose to open the festival with, but the scheduling didn’t work out for me. Thankfully Arianne got to catch it. But then I read the premise for Bit, and I was hooked. Bit is a female-centric vampire flick that was geared to tackle gender norms. The poster is a beaut (as you can see below) and comes with a killer tagline. I was very excited and amped, and very quickly it turned into a bit of a disappointment.