• Damsels in Distress, The Moth Diaries, ALPS, Atonement (447/257)

    by  • 9/14/2011 • TIFF 2011 • 0 Comments

    DAMSELS IN DISTRESS – This is basically a silly film. It’s a bit HEATHERS, a bit SERIAL MOM (without the killing), a bit Reese Witherspoon in ELECTION, and a bit Dianne Wiest in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS… Satire? A gang of insane girls patrols campus, looking for poor unfortunate souls to save from themselves. Judging from the Twitter stream, I may have been one of the few people who really enjoyed this film.

    THE MOTH DIARIES – One of the programmers introduced the film with a meaningless phrase, saying that the film “walks the razor’s edge of ambiguity.”

    It’s a “my best friend is being controlled by a vampire and nobody believes me” teen drama. It’s pretty badly executed on the whole. The dialogue is unnatural, stilted, and not at all believable; the characters speak in ways that no humans do. I think it may have been poorly adapted from the novel, and badly directed.

    The characters as seen in the film seem to be little more than generic roles; Blonde Best Friend, Misunderstood Main Character, Gothy Vampire Girl With English Accent, Kooky Rebellious Asian Girl, Pedophile In Waiting Teacher…

    There’s a male English teacher that is here for no reason at all – he’s not even a MacGuffin – he doesn’t move the story ahead, he barely features in the plot at all… EXCEPT that he’s there to kiss the teenaged protagonist… FOR NO REASON. I guess we’re to believe that male teachers are basically pedophile just dying to get some alone time with private school girls? He exists to fan-boy over the girl’s dead poet father, and to molest her. That’s it?

    It’s almost like it was written as TWILIGHT fan-fiction and was accidentally made into a film, directed by a TEAM EDWARD wearing 18 year old.

    The director introduced the film, and was apparently in the house for the show, but did not put in an appearance for a Q&A. I wonder why not? Did she hear the (not good) laughter and decide it was best not to bother? Maybe she donned infrared goggles and saw all the eye-rolling in the audience?

    ALPS – It’s not DOGTOOTH, but I like it. There’s about the same penchant for massive head trauma and awkward dance sequences. This film features a small group that provides an unusual service to those who have lost someone very close; they play the role of the deceased. It’s weird, but it’s no comedy. There’s something truly frightening about these people.

    Aggeliki Papoulia, the actor who played the older daughter from DOGTOOTH returns, and come to think of it, maybe this IS the same character post-DOGTOOTH, having hired her own fill-in for the loving Dad she never really had? Ariane Labed played in the movie ATTENBERG (the girl with the weird shoulder blades), and she’s another member of the ALPS team. I’m beginning to wonder if maybe there are only three or four young actresses in Greece at the moment.

    In the audience, there was a giggler… You know the type – EVERYTHING is funny. Character opens a door, giggle! Character takes a drink of wine, giggle! Character suffers extreme head wound? Giggly stopped dead at that point, and she didn’t peep again. I just wish it had happened earlier.

    ATONEMENT (iTunes) – A thirteen year old butterfly flaps her wings, and destroys lives, and only after it’s too late, does she realize what she’s done. It’s a slow, period piece, but it’s character driven. Really well acted and put together, though I can’t help but think that this should have been two films.

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