Landon Roberts, Contributing Writer
All of my favorite films strike a chord with my deepest emotions and stick with me weeks after an initial viewing. These three films from TIFF meet that same criteria and each have resonated with a different aspect of my emotions.
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Growing up can be really hard, and the anxiety that comes with that transition into adulthood can be unbearable at times. “Anne at 13,000 Ft” is a film exactly about that and never strays away from this reality, which it embraces through a suffocating camera that thrives in the shaky close-up. The use of the camera mirrors mimics that feeling of tension in one’s chest before a panic attack. However, this feeling never goes away, creating a surreal experience that is as tense as any great horror movie. Deragh Campbell as Anne brings many layers to the performance. One scene involving her character can revolve around an adorably awkward attempt at flirting, but then be followed up with self hate she feels because of this failed attempt. This continuing flip-flop of emotions culminates in scenes of pure emotion that made me tremble with sympathy.
“Anne at 13,000 Ft.” does not have a set wide-release date.
Trey Edward Shults has proven he is the master of showing family dynamics through his previous films “Krisha” and “It Comes at Night.” “Waves” continues this tradition through a calculated look into the suburban family. The film follows a family as their two children try to navigate their way through high school.
While this sounds like a basic premise, Schults heightens the experience with music. The entire film plays out like a visual album, and each character has a “playlist.” The toxic masculinity Tyler exhibits is backed by songs by Kanye West, Travis Scott and older songs by Tyler the Creator. The lyrics corresponding with the protagonist’s psyche and the music act as dialogue, creating an incredibly unique experience.
The heart of the film resides in its message that the choices one person makes can impact an entire family for the rest of their lives. This all results in an incredibly moving piece of art that is primed for multiple rewatches.
Waves will be released in theaters Nov. 1.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Romantic gothic novels like “Jane Eyre” thrived in their descriptive text that echoed the feeling of longing and sexual tension. This text now has been put to screen with the poetic “Portrait of a lady on Fire,” which follows protagonist Marianne as she falls in love with the subject of her next portrait, Héloïse.
The film embraces quiet moments of love that puncture the heart and soul. The framing of each scene encapsulates romantic era paintings and the tenderness of timid interactions. Each gaze the pair gifts each other is filled with a burning intensity that grows until their entire dynamic is consumed by the flame of love.
The slow pace of the film keeps the audience intrigued from beginning to end, thanks to the sexual tension that flickers like the flame before a wildfire. This all results in an emotionally explosive finale that will leave you heartbroken.
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” will be released Dec. 6.
Read Landon’s Outlook on the Toronto International Film Festival.