Paolo here, back with yet more TIFF films from the final weekend.
The first film today is Sion Sino's HIMIZU, using the backdrop of the March 11 earthquake to tell the story of fifteen year old Yuichi Sumida's (Shota Sometani) violent dreams and reality. One of his dreams puts him in the Fukushima rubble, where he finds a pistol inside a washing machine and when he wakes up, he checks his own washer to see if it's true. What ensues is school absenteeism, stalking from a lovesick and excitable girl, abuse from his father (who tells him he should drowned him in a river) and beatings from Yakuza loan sharks.
At one point he has convulsions, a reaction to his unbelievably painful life. It's a raw and forceful performance from Sometani that might be ignored by larger audiences because of world cinema ghettoization. Sino's approach in telling Sumida's story meanders after the point when Sumida stands up to get revenge from these adults.
I feel snobby when I miss films from TIFF's Midnight Madness programme but fortunately, they play them again days after their premieres. Yesterday brought us LOVELY MOLLY from BLAIR WITCH director Eduardo Sanchez. It starts with the young titular character (Gretchen Lodge) explaning, teary eyed, that the actions that her body is committing is not really her. Her seemingly perfect marriage and childhood home disintegrate because of an incubus that haunts her. It is a competent horror film with the occassional excellent moment, especially those in which Lodge confronts her inner monster or becomes one. Lodge, in a debut performance, commits to the role with both eloquence and ferocity.
The transitions between regular film and video cam equipment are smooth.The scares aren't cheap but the intervals between them are far too long. While we're waiting for either the invisible ghost or Molly to attack, we're left with watching close-ups of furniture while eerie music plays on the background. The film can't rely only on great sound design to make its house look creepy. And why does the house have a security system but not proper lighting?