Author: Aren Bergstrom

TIFF 2015 Review: Invention

A silent city symphony taking viewers through the streets and buildings of Toronto, Paris and São Paulo, Invention juxtaposes the architecture of these urban environments against the everyday goings-on of the individuals inhabiting them. The first feature by acclaimed visual artist Mark Lewis, Invention is essentially a gallery installation condensed into a feature film. Thematically, Invention is as vague and muddled as any artist’s description plaque hanging in a postmodern gallery. However, formally it is stunning. Utilizing drones to capture roaming shots of cityscapes, Lewis radically pushes the art of unbroken aerial cinematography forward. Many shots last over ten...

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TIFF 2015 Review: Dheepan

A Tamil Tiger (Antonythasan Jesuthasan) flees the civil war in Sri Lanka, along with a female stranger (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) and a random orphan child (Claudine Vinasithamby), so he can pose as the head of a refugee family, in order to cobble together an existence in the Paris suburbs. However, as life in the suburban apartments grows increasingly dangerous due to gang activities, the soldier and his false family find the spectre of violence once again threatening to overwhelm their lives. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Jacques Audiard’s (A Prophet) Dheepan is a startling look at a makeshift...

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The thrill of discovery: elements of a great festival film

In the film world, most people have a general sense of what a festival movie is, even if it’s usually an ephemeral idea instead of a concrete one. It’s kind of like pornography: you know it is when you see it. Moreover, while it’s generally easy to identity a festival film, it’s often hard to pin down what constitutes a great one. What exactly is the difference between an excellent festival film and a bad one? What elements are present in great festival films that make them so? And are these the same sorts of elements found in successful...

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TIFF 2015 introduces a Platform for the best in film

One of the unique traits of the Toronto International Film Festival has always been that the audience, not a jury of filmmakers, critics, and academics, determines its top prize. After every festival screening, viewers can vote for the film they like best to determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award, which is theoretically a coveted indicator of future Oscar glory. However, in its 40th incarnation, TIFF is changing this manner of determining the best film at the festival — sort of. It just depends upon your definition of “best.” TIFF has introduced Platform, a new programme that seeks...

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Review: Hitman: Agent 47

Young drifter, Katia van Dees (Hannah Ware), finds herself caught in a fight between a genetically-engineered assassin known as Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) and the shadowy organization, Syndicate International, which dispatches the mysterious John Smith (Zachary Quinto) to find and defend her. As Katia finds herself paired with Smith against her will and on the run from Agent 47, she learns that her scientist father (Ciarán Hinds) may be the key to her salvation and the real target of both Syndicate International and the deadly assassin trying to kill her. Based on the popular video game series, Hitman: Agent 47...

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