Calgary International Film Festival, days 10-11

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Shorts, Strange Circumstances: by various artists. My favourites include “Tempete Sur Anorak”, a French surreal stream-of-consciousness-style cartoon by Paul Cabon that I would have to see again to accurately describe. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be funny, but we laughed: with the film, not at it. A Canadian film called “Siren”, by Alex Clark was one of the most effective independent horror films I’ve seen, period. Keep an eye out for it. Nine minutes of white-knuckling the arms of your chair. The final film of this series, “Ephemeral” a Spanish film by Diego Modino, was a lighthearted romp about a child dancer auditioning for a musical… at the absolute wrong address. No spoilers, but it’s adorable in a twisted way.

Preggoland: by Jacob Tierney = more funny and intelligent than I thought it would be, a send-up of competitive mommy culture and the pressures that society places on the shoulders, or more accurately tummies, of child-free women. It does all this while being respectful to mothers as well. The movie is worth a watch on its own, but if you don’t see it for any other reason, see it for Danny Trejo as a former doctor turned failing grocery store worker pretending to be an obstetrician. Also, I want to see more of star/screenwriter Sonja Bennett’s work. She is damn talented.

Chimeres: by Olivier Beguin = a Swiss vampire movie (trivia: the Swiss accent sounds a helluva lot like the Quebecois accent, at least to my ears. Didn’t have to read the subtitles) that has some tone issues and could have been either an intense relationship drama or a splatterpunk extravaganza, but doesn’t work well trying to be both. This would make an impressive student film, but as I’ve found out over the past decade, film school only takes you so far.

L’il Quinquin: by Bruno Dumont = a WTF Twin Peakish murderous ramble through a French coastal farming town. Not for everyone, but it’s a mind screw that’ll stay with you a while.

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