TFCA Friday: Week of Dec. 30

December 30, 2022

Broker | Elevation Pictures

Welcome to TFCA Friday, a weekly round-up of film reviews and articles by TFCA members.


Stay tuned: The 26th annual TFCA Awards will be announced on Sunday, January 8th beginning at 11:30am. Follow along on Twitter as we name the winners and the nominees for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, which carries a cash prize of $100,000 – the largest purse in Canadian film!


In Release this Week


Broker (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)


“Constant revelations change the scene right up to the end, we think we know where it’s going and why, but the truth is far more human and interesting than we imagine,” writes Anne Brodie at What She Said. “An extraordinary look at the psychology and humanity of people considered lawless, and the strength love gives them. Bears repeat viewing to catch all of the subtleties of this unexpectedly magical experience.”


“Kore-eda’s latest film, Broker, hits many of the same beats as his Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters. Shoplifters is a heartwarming story about an unconventional family harbouring a missing child. Broker is a sentimental story about an unconventional family plotting to sell a baby on the black market,” says Victor Stiff at That Shelf. “Song Kang-ho is as soulful as ever as the patriarch of this rag-tag family. Sang-hyeon is a man of multitudes, and the actor brings a tough balance of desperation and charm to the role.”


“Hirokazu Kore-eda is a master at scenes in which his protagonists show who they are in complex ways,” notes Marc Glassman at Classical FM. “Ha Sang-hyeon, who runs a drycleaner, chooses to show his cool when gangsters bring him a bloody shirt to be cleaned while demanding money he owes them. You understand why he is in the business of selling babies—his situation is dire—but it’s also clear that he won’t crumble emotionally even if his life is threatened.”


“Despite the rather sensitive and controversial topic, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film is often playful and humorous without sacrificing the drama that is at hand,” says Gilbert Seah at Afro Toronto. “His film also comes to a satisfactory happy ending, but one that is not reached without some pain and sacrifice.  The film also paints an insightful picture of child trafficking in South Korea, which many are likely unaware of.”


Hold Me Tight (dir. Mathieu Amalric; Jan. 5)


“Krieps is mercurial Clarisse, wife, and mother of two children who may or may not have deserted her family,” observes Anne Brodie at What She Said. “The story’s split between Clarisse’s car trip moving fast and far from home, which she left without warning, and her husband Marc (Arieh Worthalter) facing sudden abandonment, fruitlessly trying to explain to his small children what was happening when he doesn’t know.”


Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter (dir. Rebecca Halpen)


Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter perhaps unfairly, rips the lid off the late, globally celebrated chef,” writes Anne Brodie at What She Said. “The Chicago-based wunderkind was the first to take a chance on unusually paired and presented cuisine; he took off like a rocket, influenced by, among others, modern masters like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in California, and the cuisines of Cafe Flore in Paris, and Girardet in Switzerland.”


The Pale Blue Eye (dir. Scott Cooper)


“The sombre mood and atmosphere are as much characters as the humans, highlighting the isolation and difficulty of living in a remote, dangerous place near a rushing river, cliffs, deep forests, and emotional young men,” remarks Anne Brodie at What She Said. “Everyone is a suspect. The attention to period detail is intoxicating, and very much part of the experience. The story and its canny twists, is riveting to the final frame.”


“Clocking in at more than two hours, The Pale Blue Eye (the title is from a line in one of Poe’s works) lumbers when it should lunge,” admits Chris Knight at the National Post. “At one point, Spall’s character and Captain Hitchcock (Simon McBurney) berate our man for not making quicker headway on the investigation, and I found myself nodding in agreement. Things are also slowed down by the addition of a barely-there love interest played by Charlotte Gainsbourg.”


Wildcat (dir. Trevor Frost, Melissa Lesh)


At POV Magazine, Pat Mullen calls the film “an epic cat movie” and speaks with director Trevor Frost about working with subject Harry Turner to tell his story about reintroducing ocelots to the wild. “It’s interesting to see people telling their own stories and what they choose to film. It’s something that I think we’re going to see more and more people embracing moving forward,” says Frost. “Some people, I think, really tie documentary to journalism. I come from a journalism background as a still photographer. I did a lot of work for National Geographic, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. The fact checking processes that you go through and the rigour that they have in place is very different from the documentary film world where, when you’re editing a film, people take liberties of moving things around in time.”


TV Talk/Series Scribbles: Mad About Madoff


At What She Said, Anne Brodie investigates Joe Berlinger’s financial thriller Madoff the Monster of Wall Street. “Madoff ran two separate companies, one for the public, sleek and impressive, and another, an unregistered, rundown warren of boxes and outdated tech that no one but employees saw. That’s where the scams were carried out,” explains Brodie.


2022 in Review

The team at Original Cin looks back at the year’s highlights. For Jim Slotek, it’s Everything Everywhere All at Once: “Michelle Yeoh was up to the challenge of playing scores of versions of herself as she hopped universes like a hobo hopping boxcars.” Thom Ernst, meanwhile, taps The Whale: “I was moved to tears by director Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, which is as good of a film as Brendan Fraser’s sure-to-be Oscar-winning performance.” For Karen Gordon, Bardo was tops for delivering “a non-linear ‘waking dream’ that follows a man assessing his life, and what had meaning for him.” Kim Hughes, on the other hand, says Moonage Daydream electrified her the most: “Brett Morgen’s boundlessly innovative homage to David Bowie cast the singular performer in an unexpectedly new light while upending the notion of what documentaries must look like.” For Liam Lacey, our previous Best International Feature nominee Petite Maman was best in show: “I love the way the realism and fantasy are in harmony, not through special effects but naturally, as through the mind of a child.”

Have a happy new year!