TIFF NEXT WAVE 2021 kicks-off later this week, running Friday, February 12-15, 2021. Celebrating youth-oriented films and programming, the Festival adapts to a virtual format this year, allowing for safe, pyjama-comfort enjoyment right from home!
Our Justin Waldman (@DubsReviews) got to preview some of the most-anticipated titles of the Festival and here are some of his thoughts.
DEATH OF NINTENDO
Death of Nintendo has a lot right going for it, including ’90s nostalgia. The Movie focuses on a group of teenage boys living in Manila, taking place before the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, with a heavy dose of Nintendo throwback, as this group comes into their own identity.
The Film focuses on Paolo (Noel Comia Jr), Kachi (John Vincent Servilla), and Gilligan (Jiggerfelip Sementilla) who are all friends trying to come into their own. At once, they are escaping their own individual issues whether they be problems at home, heartbreak, or not being satisfied with what they have. Everyone is trying to overcome their own personal issues/demons. Their greatest escape is playing Nintendo and being able to escape into their own world, something we might know a thing or two about right now.
Death of Nintendo has some excellent performances from its trio of leads. The universally relatable story by Valerie Castillo Martinez and direction from Raya Martin help these stories excel. The future looks bright for everyone featured here. Death of Nintendo does fall into some coming of age tropes, but the high points are definitely worth the journey.
DEATH OF NINTENDO premieres at TIFF Next Wave Friday, February 12,2021.
Leonie Krippendroff’s Berlin-set Feature Cocoon takes place in the summer of ’18 with themes of exploration, discovery, and change. The Film boasts some fantastic performances from its Cast. This is a beautiful story of self-discovery.
Nora (Lena Urzendowsky) follows her sister Jule (Lena Klenke) around, along with her friend Aylin (Elina Vildanova). Nora endures a horrific accident in school. Retreating to the bathroom in complete embarrassment, she meets Romy (Jella Hasse) and discovers that she feels for Romy, realizing she isn’t interested in boys and vying for their attention, like Jule and Aylin.
Cocoon is metaphoric of the awakening Nora goes through, but also applies to the breakout performances in this Film. There is something so genuine and captivating about Urzendowsky and Hasse’s work that transcends the screen.
COCOON premieres at TIFF Next WaveSaturday, February 13, 2021.
There are a lot of uncomfortable things that occur in this directorial Feature debut from Olivia Peace and first Screenplay by Jess Zeidman. However, Tahara handles some serious subject matter with a bit of levity and comedy, making it a bit tragic, comedic, yet undeniably brilliant.
Tahara takes place in Rochester, NY at a funeral service/Hebrew school. It revolves around a few friends, love interests and classmates as they mourn the passing of their fellow classmate. The Film focuses on Hannah (Rachel Sennott) and Carrie (Madeline Grey DeFreece) as they explore their sexual abilities with each other, so Hannah can make a move on Tristan (Daniel Taveras). Carrie and Hannah realize there might be more to their friendship than initially thought, and things become awkward between them.
Both Sennott and DeFreece deliver fantastic performances with a great, emotion-filled comedic punch. Their chemistry also breaks the tension of the backdrop of the story, losing a classmate at such a young age. Zeidman’s Script delivers, with Peace’s direction focused. This is a must-see!
TAHARA premieres at TIFF Next WaveFriday, February 12, 2021.
Just announced, Rachel Sennott will appear on TIFF‘s Instagram Live 7:30 PM ETFebruary 12, 2021, discussing her career and her Comedy. More details here.
Beans (Kiawentiio) wants to fit in. The 12-year-old Mohawk girl just applied to an elite middle school and she is being bullied by some older teens in her Indigenous community. While she struggles to find her place, two Mohawk communities begin a standoff with Quebec authorities over the expansion of a golf course into a neighbouring forest and burial ground, thrusting Beans into a world of racism and violence she has never experienced before.
In her first narrative Feature, Co-Writer/Director Tracey Deer has crafted a powerful coming-of-age story that centres around the Oka Crisis in 1990 Quebec. Deer does not shy away from the intensity of the situation, frequently thrusting her Cast right into the middle of her depiction. Her attention to detail is impeccable, and the way she merges actual news footage from the event with the Film’s recreations is superb. Beans is filled with scenes that are tragic and genuinely heartbreaking to watch, each one emphasizing the despicable racism these Indigenous communities were subjected to because they wanted to fight for their land rights. Deer does not even pretend to sugar coat any of it. Everything presented in Beans feels very real and very authentic, and so closely mirrors the actual news footage from 1990, not to mention from the present day, that it becomes downright frightening to comprehend.
For how great the Film looks and how awful it will make you feel to know that something like this happened (and is STILL happening), it would all be for nothing without Beans herself. We get to see the world through her eyes – and the young Kiawentiio is absolutely spectacular in the Leading Role. She captures the optimistic spirit of a typical 12-year-old and expertly conveys the trauma she has to endure because of the standoff. I think some of the tonal whiplash the Film goes through puts her at a disadvantage in some instances (and a particular extended moment in the Third Act drags the Film out needlessly), but she handles nearly everything with grace and an expert precision that extends beyond her years as an actor. First-time actors Violah Beauvais – as Beans’ younger sister Ruby – and Paulina Alexis – as Beans’ friend April – are cast perfectly and complement Kiawentiio’s beautiful performance. If anyone can even come close to matching her, it is Rainbow Dickerson as Beans’ mother Lily. Her vivid emotions are devastating to watch in action, and I doubt I will forget any of those visceral expressions any time soon.
BEANS screens at TIFF ’20 as follows:
Sun, Sep 13 TIFF Bell Lightbox 12:00pm and 12:30pm
Ribs. It’s been way too long since we’ve relished a rack and who would’ve known how easy it is to make these at home? The trick is to remove the tough membrane on the back of the rack, bake at a low heat and to apply your sauce right at the finish! These were perfect and oh so tender!
3 lbs pork ribs
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsps soy sauce
Black pepper, to taste
1. Remove white membrane on back of ribs. Cut ribs into four sections.
2. Marinate ribs in garlic, soy sauce and pepper. Let stand room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
3. Preheat oven at 275°F.
4. Place ribs in dish and cover with foil. Bake 3.5 hours.
5. Mix all BBQ sauce ingredients together in bowl.
6. Remove ribs from oven and brush with sauce.
7. Set rack in oven one level up (be careful) and set oven to a high broil. Place ribs back in oven uncovered and broil about 5-6 minutes to desired level of charring.
8. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve with corn, potato salad and baked beans.