EO is a donkey who is part of a circus in Poland. His owner Kasandra (Sandra Drzymalska) and himself have a strong bond. She protects him even if he is being used by the circus for profit. However, when the circus gets shut down, EO is placed in a new home out of reach from Kasandra. After she pays him a visit one night, he breaks the farm gate in search of her. Instead, he meets good and bad people, experiences joy and pain, and endures the wheel of fortune randomly turning his luck into disaster.
This is a moving Film with a powerful message. We watch as EO is being mistreated by everyone he interacts with on his journey. As we watch the world through his eyes, we see how the world is a torturous place for him. Even at the start, Kasandra does what she can to protect her beloved EO but he still suffers from the Circus owners.
However, the level of cruelty to animals escalates and deescalates throughout. There is one particular moment when EO is beaten by a group that was previously celebrating him. Even though the abuse is off-screen, Writer-Director Jerzy Skolimowski makes sure that each painful hit is felt. This makes for a painful viewing experience, but a necessary one. Even in moments when EO isn’t being used, he is hurt in other ways. Near the end, EO ends up on an estate with a Countess (played perfectly by Isabel Huppert) and a young priest (Lorenzo Zurzolo). Although they don’t intentionally hurt him, they neglect him. He doesn’t have any other animal companions and they don’t respond to his cries.
The situations that EO finds himself in reflect the cruelty of humans to animals. Each situation plays out as a mini-chapter in EO’s journey. They almost feel like their own individual Short Films. Yet, Skolimowski ties them together into a hero’s journey for his Donkey protagonist. EO even gets a shot to fight back and aide fellow animals being abused.
Additionally, it’s one of the most visually stunning films of the year. The Cinematography by Michael Dymek thrusts us right into EO’s view of the world. We see it for all its natural beauty and brutality.
After Frankie (Isabelle Huppert) finds out she has a serious illness she summons her family and close friends to join her on a holiday in Sintra, Portugal.
Director Ira Sachs has a way of shooting a Film with many characters and making it feel intimate. The Script is rich with uniquely different characters who have particular quirks in their dialects. These loveable and honest characters are brought to life by a killer Cast consisting of Huppert who is hilarious here, the beguiling Marisa Tomei and more. Frankie is a fusion of Drama and Comedy with insightful lessons on life.
Frankie screens at TIFF on Wed, Sep 11 at Princess of Wales at 6 PM and Thu, Sep 12 at Winter Garden Theatre at 2:30 pm
Universal Pictures Canada x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to win Advance Passes to a Toronto screening of TIFF ’18 selection GRETA.
Screening Date: Thursday, February 28
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Cineplex Yonge and Dundas
10 Dundas Street East
Run time: 98 mins
A sweet, naïve young woman trying to make it on her own in New York City, Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) doesn’t think twice about returning the handbag she finds on the subway to its rightful owner. That owner is Greta (Isabelle Huppert), an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and an aching loneliness. Having recently lost her mother, Frances quickly grows closer to widowed Greta. The two become fast friends — but Greta’s maternal charms begin to dissolve and grow increasingly disturbing as Frances discovers that nothing in Greta’s life is what it seems in this suspense thriller from Academy Award®-winning director Neil Jordan.
Greta follows sweetheart Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) who after finding a woman’s purse left on the subway returns it to its owner, Greta(Isabelle Huppert). When Frances and Greta soon start up a friendship together, Greta’s dark and true intentions come to light. It will have its World Premiere in the Special Presentations Programme at TIFF.
Director Neil Jordan is back again with another Psychological Thriller that chills us to the bone. With every beautifully-captured frame of this, we see the sinister mind of Greta come more and more to the surface. No one else but Huppert could pull off a role that is as horrifying as it is comical.
Greta screens at TIFF on Thursday, September 6 at 5:45 PM at Ryerson Theatre, Monday, September 10 at 2:30 PM at Ryerson Theatre and Friday, September 14 at 9:45 PM at Scotiabank 12.
2016 certainly was one for the books. I admit feeling terribly guilty every time someone claimed how horrible the year was when I secretly felt otherwise! Whether it be the amazing Films I saw, singling-out LA LA LAND, which I will say is the one of the finest to be released in the past decade, or songs on the radio – we love a return to strong melancholy melodies – the year gave us many memories to hold on to. And to think we used to scoff at Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd … now they’re on repeat on our Spotify account.
If there was a big name in town, we were there and this will be defined as the year we met our faves Gwyneth Paltrow, James Corden, Anne Hathaway, Taraji P. Henson, Rooney Mara and Emma Stone. We admit, we’re a bit mortified we’ll run out of heroes to meet!
And let’s not forget my love of horses. My travels to New York and California brought me together with icons like California Chrome, Beholder, Lady Eli and star of tomorrow, Classic Empire – the early favourite for May’s Kentucky Derby. My favourite horsey moment though? Meeting “Princess” aka A Pic by MrWill, my own namesake, for the first time back in February! I will miss her as she enjoys the sun and sand in Florida this winter, but look forward to her being a tough machine in the spring after her winter training.
Join me on a walk down memory lane one more time! And check back this weekend as we check-in with Team Mr. Will including Justin Waldman, Jon Godfrey, Dave Baldwin, Siobhán Rich, Amanda Gilmore + George Kozera as they give us their Best-Ofs!
TOP TEN FILMS
1. La La Land
3. Bridget Jones’s Baby
4. Nocturnal Animals
7. A Bigger Splash
9. Florence Foster Jenkins
Into You – Ariana Grande
Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers ft. Daya
Let Me Love You – DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber
Starboy – The Weeknd
24k Magic – Bruno Mars
Cheap Thrills – Sia ft. Sean Paul
Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande
No – Meghan Trainor
7 Years – Lukas Graham
Lifted – CL
All About Us – Jordan Fisher
Love Like That – Mayor Hawthorne
Just Like Fire – P!nk
This is What You Came For – Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna
Lost Boy – Ruth B
Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes
Spirits – The Strumbellas
Let it Go – James Bay
Work from Home – Fifth Harmony
City of Stars – Ryan Gosling
Audition – Emma Stone
One of our favourite TIFF bashes annually is the UniFrance Party, held at The Fifth Social Club. While the Red Carpets during the Festival are very Hollywood-centric, this one event stretches the scope of the Festival to include French-language Film. Several high-profile names graced the Carpet at the Party this year including iconic actress Isabelle Huppert and auteur Filmmakers like Paul Verhoeven, François Ozon and Olivier Assayas. Legendary French actress Agnès Varda who was a dear friend of the late Jim Morrison, also attended in a rare appearance.
The Cocktail Party is brought to us by the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC), Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et du Développement International (MAEDI), Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Institut Français, Procirep, Mairie de Paris, Air France, Lacoste, m0851 and Renault Nissan.
Paul Verhoeven’s eclectic career has won him legions of Fans in both the mainstream and Arthouse worlds. The Basic Instinct helmer continually has pushed the envelope with several bright spots in his career like Starship Troopers, Total Recall, RoboCop and we actually “got” Showgirls and are unafraid to admit it.
He returns with French psycho-sexual Thriller Elle, which after drawing several raves at Cannes, now makes its way to Toronto where it should make a splash.
Centering on video game company executive Michèle (Isabelle Huppert) who mysteriously gets attacked, she makes it a mission to find her assailant after failing to get the help of police. He edges-in dangerously close, ready to attack again at any moment and the suspense at time becomes unbearable.
Cleverly-crafted, we find ourselves mesmerized by the effortless cool of Michèle in what is an unforgettable performance by the legendary Huppert. We navigate through her complex world of lies, secrecy and seduction. All the while she must consolidate her strained familial relationships with her mother, son and her imprisoned father, while we learn more about her deep, dark past.
ELLE screens at TIFF ’16 Friday, September 9, 2016 at 5:30 PM VISA Screening Room and Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 9:00 AM TIFF Bell Lightbox.