TIFF 2020: Our Review of ‘Short Cuts 5′

TIFF 2020: Our Review of ‘Short Cuts 5′

The last short cuts program is all about discovery. Some of the discoveries that the characters make here are ones that they’d prefer not to make. At other times, they are, and sometimes those discoveries are inward. If that sounds cheesy it’s because of the mix of quality in which these shorts address that theme.

This set of short movies starts with Amina Sutton and Maya Tanaka’s The Price of Cheap Rent. Here, where a Black female New York artists realizes why her apartment is at a cheap $1100 a month, and that’s because she’s living with a ghost, possibly three. This mock documentary has its main subject in closeups. This is one of two shorts here that break the fourth wall. She addresses her curiosity towards her ghost roommates’ identities, which is more important for Black people and other people of color than it is for white people. Roommate 1 watched this with me and it entertained him and me.

Next up is Scars, where director Alex Anna depicts a Frenchwoman’s body’s titular, well, scars, in black ink. Presumably, this body is hers. Life is very long, a period of time that the body documents. Sometimes those scars overwhelm the body. There’s a shot where Anna puts animation on the body, drawing black ink on where the body was. It’s very Lisa Steele, but there’s believable tension here on whether or not that body recovers from its scars.

There’s a lot of female representation in this program, and that includes Hannah Cheesman’s Succor. Here, a woman, Angie (Michaela Kurimsky) breaks the fourth wall while talking to a man she men on Tinder. But what she doesn’t know is that that man is actually her female best friend Abigail (Deragh Campbell). Campbell’s good here, evoking the spirit of a small town working class girl turned hipster, the kind that fills the Toronto streets south of Bloor. It makes me miss restaurants. Cheesman shoots two scenes in Bar Volo, which I hope is still open despite of everything. But either way, maybe I should step my Tinder game up or maybe the dialogue here feels too quirky to be real. File this under ‘what’s with straight people’? Also, super low stakes, and the double entendre doesn’t work.

Leonard van Dijl’s brings the program back up with Stephanie, where the titular gymnast (Charlotte Verwimp) deals with being an Olympic hopeful even though she’s 11 or 12. Helping her or hindering her is her coach Patricia (Sophie Decleir) Van Dijl’s previous projects involve ethnicity and sports. And this time around, he lets us feel the alienation of a Flemish girl grappling with the French side of Belgium. Effective stuff, and the colorful cinematography adds an appropriate irony to its emotional tones.

Lastly, visuals play an important element in Tie, Alexandra Ramirez’ short animation movie about, among other things, a creature that’s mostly a female human head. The lack of dialogue might divide audiences here, but it says some interesting things about survival.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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