Author: Jordan Adler

Review: My Father My Lord

Rabbi Abraham Eidelman (late Israeli actor Assi Dayan) is a man of the Book. The head of a small Orthodox congregation in Israel, Abraham also hopes to teach his young son, Menahem (Ilan Griff), the customs and laws of Jewish life. A young grade-schooler, Menahem is full of questions. Some of them irk Abraham, who vows that his son be a strict observer of the Torah. Menahem’s mother, Esther (Sharon Hacohen), tries to mediate between the two, understanding her son’s curiosity and her husband’s religious demands. My Father My Lord, an award-winning Israeli film from 2007, returns for a...

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TIFF 2016 Review: Clair Obscur

Clair Obscur is a story about two women dealing with oppressive relationships in rural Turkey. Elmas (Ecem Uzun) is a teenager whose family sold her into a marriage against her will and must deal with a sexually abusive husband. Chenaz (Funda Eryigit) is a psychiatrist who is increasingly dissatisfied with the attention she gets from her boyfriend. When Elmas strikes back against the regime at home, she ends up in Chenaz’s care at the hospital. Together, the women work to come to terms with their ruinous home lives. Clair Obscur is a difficult watch for its searing depiction of domestic...

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TIFF 2016 Review: Jesus

Santiago teenager Jesus (Nicolás Duran) loves going to clubs, singing Korean pop music and getting stoned with his friends. Jesus’ lack of drive and responsibility upsets his father, Hector (Alejandro Goic), who is often absent but always on his son’s case. After a night of partying, Jesus and his friends end up kicking and beating a passed-out boy, Gonzalo, and think little of it. But when Gonzalo ends up in a coma and the police begin searching for suspects, Jesus has few places to turn but his own father. There are a few routes for story and character development...

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TIFF 2016 Review: The Fixer

Radu (Tudor Istodor) works as a translator and problem-solver for a top-tier French news agency. A native of Romania, Radu is asked to help a small crew of journalists with a big story in his homeland. The subject is an underage prostitute (Diana Spatarescu) who was deported home from France after being caught by the authorities. As Radu and his crew track down the young woman, the translator tries to not let events from his personal life interfere with his professional ethical code. Those who appreciate the dry comedy and raw, quasi-documentary aesthetic of the Romanian New Wave may find themselves...

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TIFF 2016 Review: Austerlitz

The new avant-garde documentary from Sergei Loznitsa is set at various concentration camps. Every day, hundreds of families, tourists and tour groups walk through gates and buildings that used to house countless souls on their way to a near-certain death. Now, these spaces are museums that evoke the remnants of the past. But, as the masses gather to recall some of history’s darkest days, one has to wonder: how should people learn about the horrors of the Holocaust today? Austerlitz is a film about memory, culture and dealing with history in modern times. It is not a bustling narrative or driven by...

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TIFF 2016 Review: Old Stone

During a bustling rush hour, timid taxi driver Lao Shi (Chen Gang) swerves his car and hits a motorcyclist. A drunken passenger had grabbed his arm, causing the accident. Lao Shi decides to bring the injured driver to the hospital, but is also forced to keep paying for the wounded’s hospital bills. Soon driven into financial disarray and unable to prove the cause of the collision, Lao Shi’s home and personal life careens into damage and disarray. The feature debut for Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma is more intriguing for the society it depicts than the main story of personal...

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TIFF 2016 Review: Green White Green

Under the bright sun of Lagos, Nigeria, a band of friends bide their time before heading off to university. Determined painter Uzoma (Ifeanyi Dike Jr.) hopes to get some of his work into a prestigious gallery. Segun (Samuel Robinson) dreams of flying to New York to meet his brother and become immersed with the American culture he adores. Baba (Jamal Ibrahim) wants to make films, although his father tries to push him toward school. Together with wannabe actor Maggie (Crystabel Goddy), the young Nigerians press forward on Baba’s film even as their separate journeys threaten to dissolve their friendship. This endearing...

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