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, ┬áin 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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Book Review #4: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

The DUFFNow, I didn’t read this on my iPod (Yes, I purchased the actual book), but I know that you can still purchase and read this as an ebook so it still qualifies for an review!

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) is a Young Adult Novel by Kody Keplinger. I remember reading this book in 2011 when I was 16 and not really understanding the book at that time, but 2 nights ago, I finally watch the movie and I had a sudden urge to re-read this book. At age 20, I can finally say that I love this book, I can really relate to it and its characters, and I read it in under one day.

The DUFF is a novel about a young woman named Bianca Piper. She is neither pretty or ugly, but she is less attractive than her best friends, Casey and Jessica. While she knows this, it does not bother her until she bumps into Wesley Rush (her later on love interest) at her favourite chill spot, The Nest. He proceeds to tell Bianca that she should pretend to be happy with the fact that he is talking to her because she is the DUFF of her group. She gets angry and throws her favourite drink, Cherry Coke, in his face and storms off with her friends.

She begins to think about what her being the DUFF means about her life and social status as her life is beginning to ravel apart. She becomes overly distracted with the thoughts of her new found real unattractiveness and her parents impending divorce. At her next meeting with Wesley, he begins to irritate her just as he did last time, but they share a kiss in the Nest that will ultimately change the course of their relationship.

The next day, Wesley and Bianca are assigned to be partners on an upcoming English assignment. While working on the assignment at Wesley’s house, things get real intimate between the two of them, and their secret sexual relationship begins.

Bianca uses this relationship with Wesley as a way to escape her thoughts and the world that is crashing around her. Ultimately, he plan of using Wesley for an exhilarating escape backfires as she begins to fall for him.

My favourite line of this book has to be “Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls, but I’m chasing you”. This line said so much about both characters transitions throughout the novel. It also made me feel warm and gushy inside and provoked a cute little “awww” so that’s also why I liked it. Wesley Rush is probably my fictional crush at the moment.

I rarely ever do this, but I would honestly rate the book 5/5. I can’t find anything really wrong with it. I LOVED reading this book and I crave a sequel (even though I know that probability is low). I fell in love with both the characters of Bianca and Wesley, as well as their additional friends and family members. This book didn’t leave me hating any characters or having second thoughts about them. It really was a feel good, coming of age book. I recommend it for all teens (over the age of 16).

The movie was also really good! Even thought it kind of deviates from the novel (because you really cant have those sex scenes in a teen movie) it was a very good film. It was funny, the roles of Bianca and Wesley were played well. I really did enjoy it. Its no mean girls, but I enjoyed it. And also based off of the movie, Wesley Rush is probably my fictional crush at the moment.

So, If you have not already read this book, I recommend that you do! It is such a good read!