ENJOY THE MOVIES
"I feel electricity." Two more favorite films from the 2021 Toronto Film Festival that deserve extra attention. While this year's festival has already wrapped up, both of these have remained on my mind throughout the last few weeks. The Odd-Job Men is a Spanish indie dramedy film made by filmmaker Neus Ballús, set in Barcelona following three handymen working various jobs around town. It premiered at the Locarno Film Festival, and is also playing at the Busan, London, and Chicago Film Festivals this fall. I'm glad I took the time to catch up with it at TIFF, it's a worthwhile discovery. The other is The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, from filmmaker Will Sharpe, an unconventional biopic about painter Louis Wain. It premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, and is also playing at the Zurich, Vancouver, and Woodstock Film Festivals this fall. It mind end up being one of my Top 10 films of the year, as I can't stop thinking about how wonderful it is.
"Stories about heroes travel faster than bullets." There are two new films from Africa playing film festivals this year that just so happen to be two of the most creative, unique, and entertaining discoveries in cinema all year. We're lucky we get to experience these films this year. The first is Neptune Frost, which initially premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar. I watched it in Cannes but didn't write about it on here yet, knowing I will be raving about it whenever it gets a release. The second is a film called Saloum, set in Senegal, and it just premiered at the 2021 Toronto Film Festival this month. Both of these honestly deserve the "instant cult classic" label. Not only is it always exciting to have unique cinema from Africa playing at major festivals like Cannes & Toronto, both films are awesome creations with fun stories that cleverly pull from African mythology and culture. I need to take a moment to highlight both.
After being delayed for almost two full years, Zhang Yimou's film One Second is finally appearing outside of China, premiering at both the Toronto Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival this fall. It opened first in China in November of 2020, and it was originally announced as part of the 2019 Berlin Film Festival line-up a few years aback. But a day before that festival started, it was strangely pulled from the line-up for mysterious reasons (nothing specific was ever confirmed other than "technical difficulties"). Regardless, the film is now finally finished and allowed out by the Chinese censors. I'm delighted to say that One Second is easily one of the best films Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou has ever made. An instant favorite. A near perfect love letter to cinema set during China's Cultural Revolution, the whole film is so loving and tender towards 35mm and the magic & joy of cinema. I wanted to rewind & rewatch it again as soon as it was over.