VIFF Dailies – Oct 3, 2020

Every day during this year’s festival, we’ll be offering you some supplemental reading (and the odd visual aid) in order to better inform your future viewing or appreciation of work you’ve already seen.

Philippe Falardeau added another accomplishment to his distinguished career this February when his latest film, My Salinger Year, opened the Berlinale. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the director of the Oscar-nominated Monsieur Lazhar discusses how he approached his first film with a female protagonist: an aspiring author played by rising star Margaret Qualley.

Kenji Katagiri’s A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic is centred on a manga writer who’s chronicling her father’s losing battle with substance abuse. Variety writes, “Katagari’s second feature cleverly plays like a quirky little TV sitcom about an ordinary middle-class family before moving into darker territory. With achingly honest things to say about misplaced female guilt, and uplifting messages about female strength, A Life deserves to be on the radar…”

Video artist Janis Rafa rides the Greek Weird Wave with a debut feature that provocatively explores the relationship between humans and animals. Screen praises, “Kala Azar is something rather special. It’s foetid and atmospheric, a feral scavenger of a film which sniffs around its themes before sinking its teeth into the meat of a beasts’ eye view of the breakdown of civilisation.”

Stir applauds Ali Ray’s Frida Kahlo for mining new insights into paintings that many of us have perhaps taken for granted. “Fans of the artist will gain a new appreciation for the complexity, courage, and fierce cultural pride of Kahlo – a woman who, as one expert puts it, ‘could say through art the unsayable’.”

As it awaited its Canadian premiere at VIFF, Jean-Michel Bertrand’s Wolf Walk returned to French cinemas in September looking to build on the almost 200,000 tickets it sold during an earlier release. Granted, not everyone is a fan. Several screenings have faced protests from farmers who are unappreciative of the film’s sympathetic portrait of the four-legged threats to their herds.

Caught in the Net is another documentary that’s caused a stir – and led to charges being filed against several alleged sexual predators. This Variety piece details how director Vit Klusak was initially commissioned to create a viral video and ultimately found himself teaming with co-director Barbora Chalupova to explore just how prevalent online sex crimes are in the Czech Republic.

Xia Magnus’ Sanzaru has slow-burned a path through the genre circuit since its Slamdance premiere. In an interview with the wonderfully named Father Son Holy Gore, Magnus shares how he drew upon experiences with his grandparents’ caregivers and the cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul when crafting this supernatural Southern Gothic.

Just one of great breakout performances at this year’s VIFF comes from Marlon Kazadi in Titus Heckel’s Chained. Here’s a hint of the fine work he delivers in this high-concept psychological thriller.

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