TIFF 2009: Fish Tank Wavelengths
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.




TIFF 2009: Fish Tank Wavelengths

George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead

Today’s Picks
12:30 p.m. – Fish Tank (Winter Garden) – Review
1:00 p.m. – Short Cuts Canada Programme 1 (Jackman Hall) – Review
2:15 p.m. – All Fall Down (AMC 10) – 1/5
4:00 p.m. – Short Cuts Canada Programme 2 (Isabel Bader) – Review
5:15 p.m. – The Sunshine Boy (AMC 10) – 3.5/5
6:00 p.m. – Harry Brown (Elgin)
6:00 p.m. – Defendor (Varsity 8)
6:30 p.m. – Wavelengths 2: Pro Agri (Jackman Hall) – Review
10:00 p.m. – Enter the Void
11:59 p.m. – George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead (Ryerson)
After the jump, reviews of Fish Tank, Short Cuts Canada Programme 2, and Wavelengths 2: Pro Agri.

Today’s Reviews

Fish Tank

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
Arnold has matured as a feature filmmaker with astonishing pace since her last appearance at TIFF with the unrelentingly grim Red Road. Though Fish Tank keeps the same female-led view of the bottomless lows of council estate life, here she presents life in a fuller, truer spectrum of colours with the story of Mia, a chav whose only joy seems to come from drinking and dancing—alone. When a new man (played with wonderful ambiguity by Michael Fassbender) enters her mother’s and by turn her life, things start to get complex for Mia, but this isn’t a love story or family drama. Fish Tank is a vivid portrait of the struggle for identity for a teenager who knows no one may ever care who she is—arguably the best we’ve seen since Ken Loach’s Sweet Sixteen. Fish Tank’s flaw is that any viewer will constantly be looking for larger, falser narratives to occur (Arnold does seems to be unable to resist fake-outs) so in its steadfast maintenance of its realism, it’s almost too surprising. 4.5/5
Fish Tank plays the Winter Garden today at 12:30 p.m., and the Isabel Bader September 19 at 9 a.m..

75 El Camino / Night Mayor

Short Cuts Canada Programme 2
75 El Camino (Sami Khan) – Hey! Highway 61’s Satan, Earl Pastko, is in this! And he’s good as one part of an old couple who still totally fancy each other (his partner, Victoria Snow, is equally good). But this is a bluntly told story without a lot of flair and with an unnecessarily negative conclusion. We guess it’s the story they wanted to tell, but why? 2.5/5
Out in that Deep Blue Sea (Kazik Radwanski) – We’re sad to have missed Radwanski’s previous films—such as last year’s critically acclaimed Princess Margaret Blvd.—because this is an intriguing portrait of the downtrodden salaryman that doesn’t rely too much on cliché. There are moments of sublime awkwardness only enhanced by the decision to shoot so claustrophobically. 3.5/5
Night Mayor (Guy Maddin) – Very much a typical Maddin (but typically wonderful, too), Night Mayor is a film about the history of the internet and Canada. To say more would spoil it. 4.5/5
Volta (Ryan Mullins) – A short documentary about the Volta, a now derelict cinema in rural Ghana, this is a visually stimulating film that doesn’t go deep enough into its subject matter or the context of the changing face of African cinema (by way of Nollywood), but is still perfectly pleasant. 3.5/5
De Mouvement (Richard Kerr) – Arrgh! Industrial noise blankets black-and-white footage from old films that transition using every kind of screen wipe and transition you can imagine. The transitions are so rapid and so lacking in an obvious rhythm that De Mouvement is just exhausting for the eyes but barely stimulating for the brain. 2/5
Also playing as part of Short Cuts Canada Programme 2: The Translator and Snow Hides the Shade of Fig Trees. Short Cuts Canada Programme 2 plays today at the Isabel Bader at 4 p.m. and Jackman Hall September 13 at 1:15 p.m..


Wavelengths 2: Pro Agri
Cordão Verde (Hiroatsu Suzuki, Rossana Torres) – An almost wordless series of imagery of the lives of farmers on the titular green belt of Portugal, the film is less interesting than a traditional documentary on the subject would be. 2/5
Käfig (Karl Kels) – Editing makes a rhinoceros dance silently around the screen, but our minds couldn’t help but imagine a bongo-heavy tune playing hilariously over the top. So Käfig‘s either missing that or it’s carefully constructed to make you imagine bongo music. Not sure, and it’s way too long anyway. 2/5
Also playing as part of Wavelengths 2: Pro Agri Lumphini 2552, Pro Agriand Tamalpais. Wavelengths 2: Pro Agri plays Jackman Hall tonight at 6:30 p.m..