Torino Film Fest 2016 was lots of films, non-stop rain, too many aperitivos and a Visconti dream-apartment. Here is a selection of some of our favourite films this year.
Live Cargo by Logan Sandler (USA/Bahamas)
A young couple mourning the death of their baby retreat to a tiny Bahamian island where they become entangled in a turf war between a dangerous human trafficker, an aging island patriarch, and an obsessive homeless youth.
Mourning the death of a child and human trafficking are two serious subjects for a first feature film. Nevertheless Live Cargo never gets overly dramatized. Instead this visually poetic, mood driven film carefully introduces us to the unwritten rules of the island, its inhabitants and the outsiders. A lust for the eye reminding of Soy Cuba, Cinema Novo and sultry summer nights.
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The Donor by Zang Qiwu (China)
Yang Ba is not able to give financial support to his family and decides to sell a kidney to Li Xhaohui, Li Daguo’s sister. But when Xhaohui’s life is at stake from adverse reaction of the kidney transplant, Daguo demands Yang Ba give him his son’s kidney…
The Donor is yet another brilliant, socio critical piece of Chinese cinema. Zang Qiwu offers an inside in the absurd gap between the poorest and richest citizens of Shanghai. The painful desperation promises an ending that can only be as brutal as we know from Lao Shi.
Câini by Bogdan Mirica (Romania)
Roman returns to the land he has just inherited from his grandfather. Fully decided to sell this vast but desolate property, he is warned by the local cop that his grandfather was a local crime lord and his men will not let go of the land.
We love the Western genre that Bodgan skilfully uses to take us along the sun-burned no man’s land of Romania. A part of the country where city-rats like Roman and us easily get bored. The film start of slow as to emphasise that, but comes to a shocking climax. Câini stayed with us.
Wexford Plaza by Joyce Wong (USA)
A slice-of-life dark comedy about Betty, a lonely female security guard working at a deteriorating strip mall. Isolated and friendless, a glimmer of hope appears when a charming bartender shows Betty kindness, leading to an unexpected sexual encounter.
Somehow it seemed remarkable that a film feeling as American as Wexford Plaza world-premiered at a festival as Italian as Torino Film Festival. But we don’t say a word because we watched a world premiere and what a refreshing, delightful, awkward, hilarious film it was! #LMAO