TIFF ’20 sensation SHIVA BABY finally is on its way to us this April! See the new Trailer and release date below.
A near college graduate, Danielle, gets paid by her sugar daddy and rushes to meet her neurotic parents at a family shiva. Upon arrival, she is accosted by various estranged relatives about her appearance and lack of post-grad plans, while her confident ex-girlfriend, Maya, is applauded by everyone for getting into law school. Danielle’s day takes an unexpected turn when her sugar daddy, Max, arrives at the shiva with his accomplished wife, Kim, and crying baby. As the day unfolds, Danielle struggles to keep up different versions of herself, fend off pressures from her family and confront her insecurities without completely losing it.
See the Trailer:
Pacific Northwest Pictures release SHIVA BABY On-Demand and Digital on Friday April 2nd, 2021.
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.
Perennial undergrad student Dani (Rachel Sennot) is at a crossroads in her life. She doesn’t know what to do with her career and she’s in a money-exchange relationship with an older man Max (Danny Deferrari). When her parents haul her to a Shiva (a Jewish mourning event), her past, present and future converge in one house. Surprisingly, she encounters her ex Maya (Molly Gordon) and current flame Max. At once, she is hounded by questions from extended family and friends at the affair. As the pressure surmounts, Dani’s anxiety reaches a breaking point.
It’s hard to believe Shiva Baby is a first-time Feature. Writer-Director Emma Seligman navigates her story with the precision and confidence of a seasoned Filmmaker. She has a clear vision and executes it masterfully. Her Script includes heavy themes of inner-turmoil laced with Comedy, making can make this tightrope to walk. Seligman manages to balance herself steadily.
Another feat Seligman achieves is giving this Dramedy a very distinct feel. She borrows a bit from the Horror genre to heighten Dani’s anxiety. The disquieting Score by Ariel Marx could easily have been used in a Horror film, yet it triumphs in this heartfelt Coming-of-Age story. Not only does it parallel the trepidation of the protagonist, but instills great tension in its audience.
There are moments where Seligman’s whip-smart dialogue is delivered by multiple characters in succession, overpowering us as we immerse ourselves in Dani’s building unease. As a result, we feel both a mix of empathy and anxiousness. Cinematographer Maria Rusche adds to the escalating tension with close-up shots that induce a claustrophobic feeling. This is further aided by the stellar, concise editing by Hanna Park, who for example, makes quick jumps between dialogue, close-up shots and the ear-piercing cries of a baby.
At the heart of Shiva Baby is its endearingly-flawed characters. Seligman manages to get us invested in each character because she gives the same detailed attention to her one-line characters as she does Dani. Our protragonist is placed in a series of cringe-worthy situations which many of us relate to. Refreshingly, she’s never pigeon-holed and is perfectly brought to life by the outstanding performance from Sennot.
As the lead, Sennot commands the screen and encapsulates the essence of Dani – her anxiety, her secretiveness and her fire. However wrong Dani’s actions are, we sympathize with her because Sennot makes it hard not to. She also excels at understanding the power-dynamics within each scene in Seligman’s Script. Sennot is surrounded by an immensely-talented Ensemble. Gordon is delightful as the still-in-love ex. Polly Draper and Fred Melamed are superb as Dani’s supportive, yet overbearing parents. And Dianna Agron is just captivating as a woman slowly learning of her husband’s deceit.
Overall, Shiva Baby is a hilarious, heartfelt Film about the surmounting pressures of family expectations and growing up. At its core are its stellar performances and expert filmmaking all around.
Shiva Baby screens at TIFF:
Thu, Sep 10
Online at Bell Digital Cinema
Streaming in Canada Available from: