- Kurt Cobain About A Son, is a visually exciting documentary that uses animated drawings, landscapes and portraits of people from Cobain's hometowns of Aberdeen, Olympia and Seattle Washington. Director AJ Schnack has assembled the soundtrack around groups that Cobain listened to both as a child and later. The voice recordings for the film are taken from 1992 and 1993 interviews done by Michael Azerrad for his biography of Cobain, Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvanna. Unfortunately, this film is not about Nirvanna. No Nirvanna songs are used and the few still photos of Cobain and of the band performing are held back until the very end. That said, the technique of creating a soundtrack using interview tapes, original music by Steve Fisk and Benjamin Gibbard plus Cobain’s punk and pop influences is worthwhile in itself.
- If you are interested in Cobain, the man, this is your documentary. As someone who enjoyed Nirvana’s music in the nineties but knew little about the man, I was initially intrigued but eventually got bored. The director should have edited out some of Cobain’s deluded ramblings. That said, I overheard one satisfied patron call this film her highlight of the festival. I guess you have to be a fan.
- Shortbus opens with a minute examination of the Statue of Liberty in all her physicality. Next, the camera wings over a confectionary New York city made of card and lights, to focus on a man in a bath, videotaping himself. We get a close shot of his penis, peeing into the water, followed by a bubble of flatulence. Perhaps this is director John Cameron Mitchell’s way of announcing his themes, or maybe he’s just warning patrons who might have stumbled into the wrong theatre. There be sex here! Turn back all ye who are not open of mind.
- For those who are open-minded, there is so much sex in this film, it could be enjoyed without any plot at all. But don’t worry, you don’t have to. The characters are realistic and well-acted, each with his or her own story, set in post-911 New York. Near the end, the film shows how these people react to the great blackout of 2003.
- In my neighborhood, when the lights went off, people pulled out their defrosting meat and lit barbecues up and down the street; neighbor talked to neighbor, even if they had never done so before. Shortbus is a lot like that too, except the meat they pull out is genitalia and instead of talking to your neighbour, you just join in the orgy. It’s “just like the sixties only with less hope,” is how drag queen Justin Bond sums it up.
His private sex club, Shortbus, is full of sexual non-conformists working out troubled relationships and having lots of fun. And for the climax? The extremely frustrated marriage counsellor (played by Sook-Yin Lee), finally has her first orgasm.
- Falkenberg Farewell, directed by Jesper Ganslandt, is a reflective piece that should resonate with anyone who grew up in a small town. There are no jobs in Falkenberg so the young men in the story live with their parents, repeating the pleasures of adolescence, long after these have ceased to satisfy. Although the story is based on the lives of Falkenberg residents and although the director had some of his friends move back in with their parents to shoot the film, the story is fictional and partially improvised. Visually stunning, this film deals with depression, suicide, loyalty and identity in ways that are extremely likeable and very Swedish.
Labels: Music, TIFF Toronto International Film Festival