Summer Fever (Toronto International Film Festival)

On June 30th, I went to the TIFF|Bell Lightbox to watch a collection of 5 short films curated for the Summer Fever series. I love short films and I truly did enjoy these ones. All five of the films had a common theme: sexuality. The theme of sexuality was explored in 5 very different ways but still clearing expressed the complexity of the state. Here are my reviews of each short.

  1. Bird Hearts

After being pressed by her boyfriend Benjamin and their friends, Maya recounts her most daring sexual escapade… in more detail than Benjamin was prepared for.

Bird Hearts explores the complexity of the male ego. The couple, Maya and Benjamin, have a great sex life…so they think. When Maya begins to tell a story about her greatest sexual expedition the relationship enters shaky territory when Benjamin’s ability to please his girl becomes a concern to him. This film was great as it accurately painted a picture of the frailty of the masculinity in men when they begin to feel inadequate or less able. I really did love this film and I would give it a 4.5/5 rating.

2. Balcony

[http://bcove.me/j0m552j0]

 

The resident tough girl in a volatile and racially charged neighbourhood falls for a recent immigrant.

This film was amazing; it was my favourite out of all of the five. This film looks into the life of a white girl who has a rather toxic relationship with her step father. She sees a young girl, a refugee from Afghanistan, always standing on her balcony, who lives alone in an apartment with her dad. Due to the high racial tensions in the neighbourhood, the Afghan girl chooses to stay indoors with little interaction. The troubled teen forges a friendship with this girl and seeks a romantic bond with her as she believes that her home life is just like hers due to her quite nature. She seeks love from this girl; the love that she doesn’t have at home but instead she imposed her abuse on her in the most terminal way possible: from the balcony. I would give this film a 5/5 because it was just that amazing.

3. Homebodies

Shannon prepares a pasta dish while having cyber sex with a strange man on her laptop. Andrew wraps himself in Christmas lights and climbs into the bath. Could there be a spark between these two?

This film is about a couple who’s relationship is seems to be…over. The wife is seeking sexual satisfaction through webcam sex and the husband is trying to kill himself with Christmas lights in a bathtub. Each time that the male partner tries to commit suicide, the power switch will automatically shut off, which also freezes the computer screen and stops the female partner from engaging with her online love. Towards the end both couples give up on what they were doing before and take out the trash simultaneously. I think that the power switch was an allusion into the idea that this relationship is far from over. The power cutting off is like another chance for both of them, as it is made difficult for him to die, and difficult for her to please himself. For the humour in this film and the fact that I was consistently engaged, I would give it a 4/5.

4. One Last Night

Passion, rebellion and punk rock are all in the mix on the last night of a fiery relationship on the verge of going long distance.

I liked this film in one way, and in another I didn’t. This film shows a punk rock lesbian couple that are spending their last night together before one moves to Europe and the other stays in Israel. The Noa, the one who was going to meet the other, Orr, ย in Europe, was on the fence about the entire decision. After spending a night in jail, Noa has clarity and realizes that she not only doesn’t want to move to Berlin, but that she also no longer wants to be with Orr. I would give this film a 3.5/5 for its honest protract of the last night of a couple in subliminal turmoil but also for the realness of internal conflict. I also appreciated the look into a couple that has grown apart.

5. Dredger

[https://vimeo.com/138807508]

An older crew member on a creaking salvage ship stirs the long dormant passions of the captain’s wife, in this visually arresting ode to desire.

To be honest, I don’t really know what I watched here. I watched a film that was clearly filmed on the Portlands in Toronto, ON. It features a husband and wife and an extremely weird older fisherman. I think that the wife begins to be attracted to the fisherman due to his weird hoarding ways. Some things spinned, gravity was tested. I like a story and overall there wasn’t one here; it was very abstract. I would give this film a 2/5.

 

If you ever have a chance to see any of these shorts, I would highly recommend it. Also, if you have a chance to go to TIFF, I would also recommend it.

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