Author: Ada Wong

EUFF 2016 Review: A Noble Intention

Kicking off the European Union Film Festival for 2016 is Joran Lursen’s A Nobel Intention, based on events from the book “Publieke Werken” (Public Works) by Thomas Rosenboom about the troubles encountered during the construction of the famed Victoria Hotel in Amsterdam. The story is told from the perspective of cousins Vedder, a cabinet turned violin maker, and Anijs, a chemist overstepping his bounds in his medical practices.  When each of the two men encounter their own set of troubles, Vedder with negotiating the sale of his house on the site of the future Victoria Hotel, and the threat...

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Reel Asian 2016 Review: Soul Mate

The Reel Asian Film Festival kicks off Tuesday, November 8, 2016 with Derek Tsang’s Soul Mate. A moving tale of friendship between two young women that is put to the test when a young man enters their life, soon followed by other harsh realities that growing up can bring. This is the story of 20 years portraying the ebb and flow of a relationship between two women. Ansheng and Qiyue become friends amidst a moment of mischief in the schoolyard when they are 13 and form a bond that will connect them for better or worse throughout their lives, in...

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Cinéfranco 2016 Review: Rebellious Girl

Laila is no stranger to activist causes at home in Morocco, but when she decides to help support her family by taking a job in Belgium as a migrant working on Andre’s pear and apple farm, she discovers a new fight as she strives for fair treatment and better working conditions for herself and her fellow labourers in a foreign land. Laila rallies her peers and brings out their fierce spirit, and she unites them in a battle to stand up for themselves. Jawad Rhalib’s sophomore film is rooted in realism and deftly ties together two nations dealing with...

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Toronto After Dark 2016 Review: As The Gods Will

Shun Takahata’s greatest complaint in life is his overall boredom with it. He quickly retracts his statement when his high school, and others in Japan and around the world, are plunged into horrific chaos as teachers heads explode into daruma dolls forcing students into deadly games of survival. Shun and his classmates must find a way to outwit the game, for which the rules change every round, and nothing is as it seems in this dynamic manga adaptation by the master of extremism Takashi Miike. For those not familiar with the manga series by Muneyuki Kaneshiro, from which Miike...

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TIFF 2016 Review: Jean of the Joneses

Jean of the Jones is a multi-generation comedy centred around the women of a Brooklyn family. At the heart of it is Jean, a young writer fresh from a break-up who, together with her mother, aunts, and grandmother, must contend with a buried chapter of their past when a long estranged family member shows up at the door one day and then promptly dies. What we have here is some fresh and hilarious family dysfunction. More adult coming-of-age than feminist-themed despite its predominant female cast, it features a natural lead performance from Taylour Paige in the role of Jean....

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TIFF 2016 Review: Short Cuts Programme 10

The Short Cuts programs at TIFF typically have a unifying theme, outlined in the programmer’s notes in the past.  Even without those notes on this year, the commonality is usually evident. Then there’s Short Cuts Programme 10, which still has this writer guessing. That said, when assessed individually, there is a selection of diverse compelling content to be found. From a moving story of a young lady coping with illness, to an insightful look at classic methods of line fishing for cod off the coast. Oh What A Wonderful Feeling – 15 minutes Perhaps Oh What A Wonderful Feeling...

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TIFF 2016 Review: Le Ciel Flamand

Long fascinated by the house her mother works in, the one all prettily lit up in red at night, precocious 6-year-old Eline finds her way inside one day with devastating consequences. Eline’s mother Sylvie, the manager of the brothel, who has long fought to shield the true nature of the family’s business from her daughter, together with Eline’s “Uncle Dirk”, fight to protect young Eline, testing the limits of how far they will go to keep the child safe. Despite the usual sensationalism and spectacle that is often associated with the sex trade, Le Ciel Flamand presents a very understated setting,...

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