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TIFF 2009: The Damned Armoire

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Accident

Today’s Picks
12 p.m. – Cairo Time (Scotiabank 3) – 4/5
2 p.m. – The Sunshine Boy (AMC 10) – 3.5/5
2:30 p.m. – Accident (AMC 5)
3 p.m. – Short Cuts Canada Programme 3 (Jackman Hall) – Review
5:30 p.m. – Karaoke (AMC 6) – 4/5
6 p.m. – Short Cuts Canada Programme 4 (Jackman Hall) – Review
6:15 p.m. – Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould (AMC 7) – 2.5/5
6:30 p.m. – Leslie, My Name is Evil (Varsity 8) – 1.5/5
9:30 p.m. – The Damned United (Roy Thomson Hall) – 4/5
11:59 p.m. – Bitch Slap (Ryerson)
After the jump, reviews of Short Cuts Canada Programme 4 and The Damned United.


Today’s Reviews

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Naissances/The Armoire

Short Cuts Canada Programme 4
Naissances (Anne Emond) – In Naissances, a hitchhiking girl and a furniture restorer tell each other lies that draw them close but deny them any more time together than the duration of their trip. Though subtly told, the effect of this movie is electric. 4/5
Interview with the Earth (Nicolas Pereda) – A pair of boys—seemingly unmoved by their lack of a father—were asked by Pereda to be interviewed as if a friend had died. We say this according to the programme guide, because it’s not clear in the film. The idea is neat but either through forced “arty” filmmaking or just poor results, it doesn’t pay off. 2/5
Sixty Seconds of Regret (Ed Gass-Donnelly) – Just sixty seconds are needed to tell a story that anyone should recognize and on which we can all reflect. A wonderful example of compact storytelling. 4/5
M (Felix Dufour-Laperriere) – Though it’s in black and white, this new short from the director of Rosa Rosa is one of the most visually inventive—if abstract—films we’ve seen this festival. No more needs to be said. 4/5
Danse Macabre (Pedro Pires) – A suicide by hanging occurs, and the body’s movements after death—to swinging on the rope to movement in the coffin—are treated as dance. The idea is…alright, we guess, but it’s shot in an overblown fashion that veers between “gothic horror” and the Saw franchise. 2/5
The Armoire (Jamie Travis) – The final part of Travis’ “Saddest Children in the World” trilogy (with Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come To Dinner and The Saddest Boy in the World), The Armoire is likely to surprise even those who might feel Travis’ signature visual style is predictable, with a dark and intelligently told story that offers more than enough substance to match the style. 4/5
Short Cuts Canada Programme 4 also includes Smoke. It plays tonight at Jackman Hall at 6 p.m., and on September 15 at 3 p.m.

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The Damned United

The Damned United (Tom Hooper)
Originally a Stephen Frears production (which explains the main role going to Michael Sheen, really) and completed by Tom Hooper (the bloke who directed HBO’s “John Adams” miniseries), it’s kind of hard to judge the possible interest you could have in The Damned United if you’re not British or don’t like football, as by concentrating on a particular period of English football history it does seem like the only people who could be interested would have grown up in the North of England during the 1970s. However, based on the novel The Damned Utd—itself a highly fictionalized account of football manager Brian Clough’s forty-four-day tenure at the head of Leeds United—The Damned United covers Clough’s past, investigating his obsessions, flaws, and (most importantly) his friendship with his assistant Peter Taylor, who was essential to his success. As a result, it’s part of that great tradition of films that use sport to portray the importance and meaning of platonic love between men, and it’s to the film’s great credit that you don’t need to have a clue who Brian Clough or Peter Taylor are, or even what shape a football is, to understand and be moved by it. 4/5
The Damned United plays tonight at Roy Thompson Hall at 9:30 p.m. and on September 17 at Scotiabank 1 at 9 a.m..

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