WIFF’s Weekend Watch List — 08/14

TOM AT THE FARM

(If you want a dark psychological thriller)  

Vincent Georgie: From its first ominous moments, this macabre thriller drew me right in. I think Canada’s Xavier Dolan is one of the best filmmakers we have working today, in any country. What is often forgotten is how good of an actor he is, rarely better than here as the titular Tom. It’s a twisted, complicated and vulnerable performance. The four central performances here are dark, menacing/menaced, and create some pretty spectacular tension. Fun tidbit: the film was originally supposed to have no music at all, which is ironic because Gabriel Yared’s original score is one of the film’s great strengths. If you like your chocolate dark and bitter, take a bite of this film.

Synopsis: After the sudden death of his lover, Guillaume, Tom (Xavier Dolan), travels from his home in the city to a remote country farm for the funeral. Upon arriving, he’s shocked to find that Guillaume’s family knows nothing about him and was expecting a woman in his place. Torn between his own grief and that of the family, Tom keeps his identity a secret but soon finds himself increasingly drawn into a twisted, sexually-charged game by Guillaume’s aggressive brother (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), who suspects the truth. Stockholm syndrome, deception, grief, and savagery pervade this psychological thriller from filmmaker Xavier Dolan.


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SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN

(If you want a story to inspire you)  

Vincent Georgie: A major favourite from WIFF 2012, this is the story of the search for mysterious 1970s rock sensation Rodriguez. Not only is the film a bit of mystery, but it takes us on a musical journey of endless enjoyment all the way to Detroit. You will enjoy every minute of this film…and will likely want to watch it a second and third time. Winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary.

Synopsis: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest ’70s rock icon who never was. Discovered in a Detroit bar in the late ’60s by two celebrated producers struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics, they recorded an album which they believed would secure his reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation leads them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez.


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MILITARY WIVES

(If you want to see a brand new film)  

Vincent Georgie: 2020 is not going to go down as the year of endless new film choices. MILITARY WIVES is a wonderful exception, a heartwarming new comedy from the director of THE FULL MONTY, about a group of women that form a choir. The film is funny, touching, and highly enjoyable. A great comedy release from 2020. Kristin Scott Thomas stars, and reminds us what a great comedic actress she is.

Synopsis: MILITARY WIVES centers on a group of women from different backgrounds whose partners are away serving in Afghanistan. Faced with their loved ones’ absences, they come together to form the very first military wives choir, helping each other through some of life’s most difficult moments, and quickly find themselves on an international stage. Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) directs Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan in this feel-good crowd-pleaser inspired by true events.


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OKJA

(If you want something wonderfully weird)  

Vincent Georgie: For many, 2019 sensation PARASITE was their first exposure to the incredibly talented director Bong Joon-ho. I invite you to go back to his 2017 bizarre tale of a young girl and the magical beast, Okja, that she wants to protect. An entertaining oddity, starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jeong-eun Lee (PARASITE’s deceptive housekeeper) as the voice of the beast.

Synopsis: For 10 idyllic years, young Mija (An Seo Hyun) has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja–a massive animal and an even bigger friend–at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when a family-owned multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where image obsessed and self-promoting CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) has big plans for Mija’s dearest friend. With no particular plan but single-minded in intent, Mija sets out on a rescue mission, but her already daunting journey quickly becomes more complicated when she crosses paths with disparate groups of capitalists, demonstrators and consumers, each battling to control the fate of Okja…while all Mija wants to do is bring her friend home. Deftly blending genres, humor, poignancy and drama, Bong Joon Ho (PARASITE) begins with the gentlest of premises–the bond between man and animal–and ultimately creates a distinct and layered vision of the world that addresses the animal inside us all.


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