Sunday, June 15, 2008

WSFF 2008 #5: Going Out With a Bang...of Thunder!

As I stood at the northwest corner of Bloor and Avenue Rd., waiting to cross the street and head to the Cumberland, I looked north along Avenue and saw a giant wall of darkness approaching overhead. To my right, sunshine and blue skies...but to my left, and just at the cusp of Bloor, was an endless expanse of black, rumbling clouds. Before I finished crossing the street, the area was already dropping slowly into the menacing shadow of a big, fat thunderstorm.

Then some wicked, nasty weather hit.

Thankfully, by the time it did, I was already sitting in the theater, waiting for my first screening of the day, the Film School Spotlight: Universidad del Cine, a collection of shorts from the UDC in Buenos Aires. They were all technically strong and well-made, but only two truly impressed me:

* Crummy CafĂ© (7/8), a clever, one-location story about what would happen if two renowned composers debated their merits – and their music – at a run-down little bar. Smartly written and nicely acted, it made me smile.


* Amancay (6/8), a moody, languid, atmospheric character study (or, perhaps, location study) about a despondent young woman (Carolina Presno, left) who returns to a remote cabin where she lost a lover. Come to think of it, I don’t think there was any dialogue at all save for the main character shouting her boyfriend’s name at one point.

Immediately after the closing credits on the last Argentinian short rolled, I hopped next door to catch Official Selection 9: Father’s Day, a series of shorts relating to dads...appropriate, given the day. Even though this screening was kind of a last-minute addition for me, and I wasn’t particularly excited to go, I was pleasantly surprised by the offerings.

In fact, one brilliant short -- Boar Attack (8/8) -- might just be my favorite film of the fest. Much sweeter than its title would suggest, it made me tear up...even though it’s less than 4 minutes long.

Also impressive, and just as touching, was New Boy (7/8), a slice-of-life drama about a nine-year-old boy adjusting to life in a new school in a new country...and reflecting on the life he left behind in Africa. Again, choked me up.

Two honorable mentions for performance go to a pair of actresses in two other shorts screened as part of this programme: little Marie-Felixe Allard (right), the bespectacled, foul-mouthed and completely charming tot in Gilles’ Lili; and veteran Canadian thespian Mimi Kuzyk for churning out some impressive, emotional work in the war-vet tale, Homecoming. Well done, ladies!

And that’s a wrap on the alarmingly Myrocia-free WSFF 2008. The award winners were announced earlier tonight, but I can’t seem to find the results anywhere. I’ll post ‘em when I get ‘em.


Anonymous said...

Bad news: the Boar Attack link is dead.

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