Enlightenment-era political plots, reality TV, and getaway drivers make our list for day seven of TIFF.
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The halfway point of any major film festival is typically when the fatigue starts to settle in, but push on: it’s also when the throngs of visiting press begin to thin out, making it easier to get into the films you’re curious about. Our own recommendations for today are varied. Those seeking a good period piece might want to skip over the obvious choice, Mike Newell’s fussy-looking adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, to A Royal Affair (). It’s a modest, well-acted, and intelligent historical drama about an odd period in Danish history that saw the mad King Christian (a terrific Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) influenced by personal doctor and secret revolutionary agitator Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen).
Among the more contemporary offerings, we think pretty highly of Reality (), Matteo Garrone’s first film since gangland epic Gomorrah. It follows a fish vendor and small-time crook (Aniello Arena, currently serving time for a mob hit) through a delusional phase where he thinks he’s being auditioned for the Italian version of Big Brother. A satire of reality television, Italian pop culture, and religious superstition, it’s as subtle as a hammer to the face, but awfully funny just the same. Finally, genre fans unenthused by both powdered wigs and tragicomic irony might wish to avoid those films and head straight for Soi Cheang’s Motorway, about a Hong Kong police squad that specializes in bringing in getaway drivers.