Reel Asian Film Festival: Passion Pick Flicks To Hold a Birthday Candle To

You know you’re in for a good time when a birthday is involved and the same applies to a film festival.   Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival will be celebrating it’s 15th anniversary starting tonight.  Unlike a human teenage counterpart it’s us that will be spoiled rotten over the course of not just one day but spread across six.

Being as lucky as a waving cat I’ve been able to tear a whole in the movie gift wrapping about to be dished out in the downtown core.  Here are my top picks from talent near and afar.

Not even an image can keep this fellow static and still!  Bashing out a silent beat above is Mr. Kwon.  You might not remember him with his now silver locks but jump back in the YouTube time machine with the dial set back a few millions views & tune in to the 1970’s on TV in Toronto to jog your memory.

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Toronto After Dark: Short Sharp Shocks in Summary

It’s only fitting that October 31st sees this final blog post about Toronto After Dark Film Festival as Thursday saw the celluloid creature rewind back in to it’s movie canister grave for another year.

Small, mighty and messed up, these were my pick of the bloody bunch of stumpy shorts.

Taking small bites out of your cinema psyche each feature has had a red right hand man supporting the feature presentation as well as a separate programme showcasing the world.

Before these shorts another mini courtesy message from Fan Expo visiting icons instructed us to power down our pagers.  Funnily only Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) & Richard  Crouse (Film Critic Hero) were the only stars to follow the script & add a f-bomb.

After the 5th birthday bumper contest last year where a multitude of  film makers were asked to submit small trail intros featuring 5’s, the most memorable – under age Alien love’s author, Chris Nash returned to provide year 6 with all of them as well as two longer  pieces.

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Toronto After Dark: Deafened & Defend

Day Two:

Waiting for second day double feature to begin the Kill Bill soundtrack blared a little too loud leaving a ringing  tinitus apt for Exit Humanity‘s war time trauma.  Jaded from every “…of the dead” this movie kept the rotten flesh fresh with a health injection of innovation in the form of animated sequences & beautiful motion graphic illustrations documenting the story of an outbreak during the American Civil War from the perspective of a broken man.

I lost track of the amount of emotional bearded screams in to the air but as soon as the lead got himself together by connecting with other characters they story really took shape.  The score was also an unexpected pleasure to be passing through my bloodied lobes along with another audio star turn, this time from Brian Cox.

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Toronto After Dark: Brawls & Bowels

Tis the season to be gory as Toronto After Dark Film Festival rolled like a severed head down Spadina to it’s new home a little closer to hell at the Underground Cinema for it’s 6th year. Horror, Cult movies, Sci-fi & Action in the order of preference had me chomping at the bit like a classic Romero zombie for Thursday’s opening night.

Riding the wave of anticipation in a line shaped like a game of snake on a Nokia phone everyone seemed surprisingly calm to be packed along side one another waiting to flood the theatre. A gift from above in the shape of a roof was more than welcome adjustment from queuing outside the former Bloor Cinema site for the nocturnal viewing veterans.

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Surrogate Valentine

Where would you least expect a film festival to take place? A beautiful sun drenched volcanic island with perfect beaches and blue skies is an unlikely location to encourage hiding in the dark of a matinee yet Hawaii said aloha to it’s 31st movie showcase.

With the airport landing card surveying those arriving with the first assumption being honeymooners I checked “other” and checked out Surrogate Valentine.

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Take This Waltz

Last summer I stopped in to munch some salad at Fresh on Crawford. There wasn’t a line but the staff seemed to be paying extra attention to a petite light haired customer, my stomach dreaded having to go through the same super friendly service so when she finally left and the server started to rave I realised my lettuce leafs had been washed with water piped in from Dawson’s Creek as Summer 2010 saw Michelle Williams shooting Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz downtown.

With such a strange title and a few paparazzi shots appearing in papers of co-star comedienne Sarah Silverman the film faded from memory until the premiere at TIFF this year. It was nice to see buzz for the screening which I sadly missed. Luckily I got to pull a new tile out of the scrabble bag & was able to watch it at VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival)

Take This Waltz is truly a love letter to Toronto, a city I was cheating on while staying in Vancouver. Tdot was a dirty word in the city, being told that it was the ugliest city in North America by one person & general disdain from others. Hopefully the film will win a few people over as the saturated colour palette felt Luke my eyes had been scooped out with melon ballers and replaced with lomo cameras or perhaps an instagram app over my retinas.

Margo visits a the Maritimes where by chance she accidentally interacts with a stranger in a crowd during a staged historrical reenactment of the persecution of an adulterer, their chance encounter occurs again on the flight back to Toronto where they flirt and banter, discovering a playful connection with an immediate infatuation. As the shared cab door slams Margo ends the fantasy of a sudden romance with an admission of marriage before things go further.

The grass is greener on the other side but how long can you resist feeling it press between your toes when it’s growing across the street? Should you remain unhappy not to hurt someone and forsake your own potential perfect partner?

Take This Waltz is an amazing Canadian film that you will want to close your eyes and picture when winter arrives leaving the humid hissing of a sweaty summer in Toronto so vivid, tropically translated to the cinema screen.

Take This Waltz is currently on the festival circuit but keep an eye on Mongrel Media’s Facebook page and the official website for more information.