We Are One Retrospective – Offerings from the Toronto International Film Festival

Earlier this year I threw myself into the offerings of the We Are One Global International Film Festival (29 May-7 June 2020). Looking at those dates, it’s difficult for me to believe how recent that was! During the We Are One Festival, I wrote mini-reviews of most of the movies I watched (omitting some of the short films and other events). Now that MIFF has finished, I thought I’d use this space to re-post these reviews. As various film festivals from around the world contributed their own selections to the We Are One Festival, I’ve decided to group these reviews by the originating festival, beginning with the Toronto International Film Festival.

Crazy World [Ani Mulalu?] (2014, Uganda, 65 min)

Wow. That movie’s title is pretty accurate! I’d read about Wakaliwood, a no-budget action movie operation running out of the Ugandan slums under a director who makes and edits his movies on old computers assembled from scavenged parts, providing work and training for his family and people in his neighbourhood. Now I’ve actually seen one of his films and it was a lot more enjoyable than I expected! The movie runs for 65 minutes, including a 5-10 minute pre-movie introduction to Wakaliwood. The action scenes are frenetically edited and sometimes scale the heights of lunacy. The script is barely existent but suitably ludicrous, while also calling attention to problems in Uganda such as child kidnapping, corrupt police, media piracy and conman techniques. On top of all this there’s a narrator who keeps commenting on the action, adding his own dialogue and occasionally going off on tangents about other Wakaliwood movies and how awesome the movie is. The titles list the child stunt actors as the stars, and the narrator keeps calling it the best kids’ movie ever, while there are explosions of blood from anybody who’s shot. I don’t want to call it “so bad it’s good”, because the people behind it are so gleefully having fun within extremely limited means while trying to insert helpful messages about living in Uganda.

TIFF Talks: Viggo Mortensen & David Cronenberg on CRASH (2019, Canada, 52 min)

Viggo Mortensen was given access to the Toronto Film Festival archives and allowed to select two films to show. He selected Carl Th. Dreyer’s “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928) and David Cronenberg’s “Crash” (1996). The 52 min program below begins with Mortensen introducing “Crash”, then cuts to after the film where he interviews Cronenberg. It’s a really good discussion, revealing of their personalities, interests and working methods. Filmed shortly before Cronenberg acted in Mortensen’s directorial debut, and mention is made of a restoration of “Crash” being worked on, so maybe I’ll have the chance to see it again in the next year or two. (Addendum: I’ve heard rumours that this is being prepared for release by Arrow Video, one of my favourite movie labels, which would be tremendous news! Their limited edition box set release of Videodrome was top notch.)

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