- Renaissance is director Christian Volckman’s feature debut. This is film noir (et blanc) set in the future, complete with a tough cop hero, a sexy missing female, her sexier sister, powerful men with mysterious aims and a trail of dead witnesses. This works for the first three quarters of the film but the story is unexceptional. What sets this film apart are the visuals.
- Volckman’s film combines smooth, motion-captured animation with a stunning, black and white vision of 2054 Paris. Instead of trying to create CGI with more hair, better texture and more realistic imperfections, Volckman does the opposite, eschewing any attempt at realism for a world ‘inked’ like a black and white comic book.
- Clever architecture, such as a raised, transparent sidewalk, provide visual interest and novel obstacles for the obligatory chase scenes. My favorite characters are a set of assassins, dressed in cloaking-device suits which vaguely recall Star Wars storm troopers. Their movements are accompanied by a low ‘interference” sound in the air around them. The women in this film are uniformly stunning, designed with adoring, navel-baring care. This is in keeping with the dangerous megacorporation Avalon which promises health, beauty and longevity to it's customers. It's just too bad the missing genius is 22 and dresses like a hottie. A more realistic portrayal of a female scientist would have made for some balance, but this isn't a balanced kind of film. Many will love this film but I found it colder than Blade runner, with overblown intentions that engage my eyes but not my heart.
- The Half Life of Timofey Berezin is a film about a nuclear accident which reveals much more than a official cover-up. The screen is alive with humour, flesh and bone characters, satire, mob film clichés, poetic sentiments, hatred and true love, both among the honest and the criminal. This film touched me and made me laugh -- then it scared me. Based on the realistic scenario that a mistreated nuclear worker could steal weapon’s grade plutonium, this film explores how far a doomed man will go to provide for his family. In a stunning footnote to the film, we are made to wonder at the alarming rate of plutonium trafficking. To date this is my surprise favorite of the festival.
Labels: TIFF Toronto International Film Festival