TIFF 2017 Review: Highlights from Short Cuts Programme 8

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 17, TIFF 2017 by - September 12, 2017
TIFF 2017 Review: Highlights from Short Cuts Programme 8

Signature
Dir. Ken Chikaura

Kei Chikaura’s Signature is deceptively simple in its construction. The bulk of the film quietly follows a young Chinese man as he tries to navigate his way through Tokyo’s busy Shibuya district. The audience initially assumes the man’s nervousness is related to being an outsider who is unfamiliar with the land. Chikaura takes this assumption and pulls the rug out from under us, revealing a rather touching and resonating tale of loss and moving forward. Packing a surprising emotional punch, Signature is a pleasant surprise that is far deeper than it appears to be.

Shadow Nettes
Dir. Philip Barker

Canadian filmmaker Philip Barker constructs one of the most visually arresting films that you will see this year. Inspired by the mysterious traditions of the Shadow Nette Fishers of the Erie Valley, the film is steeped in ritual and mythology. Featuring very little dialogue, Barker leaves much of the heavy lifting on the viewer’s shoulders. However, at a running time of 17 minutes, the film does feel like an endurance test at times. There is so much going on in this film that it is a real challenge trying to decipher what it all means. While stunning from a creative standpoint, it is tough to find an emotional connection with the vibrant imagery onscreen.

Lira’s Forest
Dir. Connor Jessup

Actor-director Connor Jessup’s latest short film is a magical look at the final days of an elderly woman. One night, Lira (Patricia Hamilton) is awoken by the presence of a Fox Boy (Gabriel Varga-Witt) who has emerged from the nearby forest. Conveying a sense of mysticism and wonder that is reminiscent of the early works of Hayao Mizayaki, Lira’s Forest is a delicate look at aging and death. A beautiful film, both in visual design and storytelling, Jessup is a director destined for big things.

Marlon
Dir. Jessica Palud

Jessica Palud’s gripping drama focuses on a 14-year-old Marlon (Flavie Delangle) as she and her family attempt to pick up the pieces after her mother’s imprisonment. Preparing to see her mother (Anne Suarez) in prison for the first time, Marlon is unsure of how to process the various emotions she feels. Furthermore, she is also dealing with the physical and hormonal changes that impact most teens her age. An emotionally charged coming-of-age tale, Palud expertly extracts the feelings of anger, disappointment, and sadness that permeate the family. Featuring stunning performance by Flavie Delange and Anne Suarez, Marlon is a powerful examination of the familial connections we need, but cannot always have.

Screens:
Tuesday, September 12, 9:45 PM, Scotiabank 14
Sunday, September 17, 4 PM, Scotiabank 10

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Courtney has been sharing his thoughts on film online since 2006. The founder of Cinema Axis, he frequently celebrates diversity in cinema as one of the co-hosts of the Changing Reels podcast on Modern Superior. A regular on the Regent Radio program Frameline, Courtney has contributed to several publications including Black Girl Nerds, Comix Asylum Magazine and The Grid Does TIFF. He is also a member of both the Canadian Association of Online Film Critics and the Online Film Critics Society.