Mamo #178: For the Love of Natalie Portman

The Black Swan, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, The Trip, Vanishing on 7th Street, Tabloid… TIFF is starting to get good, folks. Join the Matts over lunch for the mid-Tuesday update.

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I got a fairly strong The Happening vibe from Vanishing, not so much the comedic because Vanishing is fairly humorless, but the threat of the absurd, whether it be wind or shadows there is something horrific absent in this kind of high concept. Visually it works though, and had the characters more to do (Mamet up the dialogue!) it could have been amazing. A foreign director needs to remake this.


I suspect Matt Brown gave Kurt his cold, or vice versa, perhaps started in the MM lineup for Bunarku?

Kurt Halfyard

Well, a solid 7 hours sleep last night seems to have beaten the cold, and allowed to actually get some writing done. Hopefully, Black Swan, Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Tabloid, Inside Year, Meek's Cutoff, Submarine and more on the way. Lots of good cinema at TIFF this year. So many films to see, so little time to write!


give me Meek's Cutoff or Another Year at least… like Bob, takes me time to get time to write.

Bob Turnbull

Tell me about it…I've got Cold Fish, The Illusionist, Machete Maidens Unleashed, I Saw The Devil, Lapland Odyssey and others on deck to finish off. I'll get them done by January maybe…

Vanishing didn't work for me, though I think I may be giving it short shrift because I expected so much from Anderson. There are some great ideas in there, but they simply aren't exploited much. The creep never really happens (you've seen it all by the first 10 minutes) and the sound field wasn't very interesting. Even the look felt too painterly to be ominous. So it didn't work as a horror film nor as a tale filled with thought-provoking existential questions. And the characters were completely uninteresting (as was the acting).

However, it did provide a great moment the following day. Early during the screening of Machete Maidens Unleashed, the film had to be stopped due to sound problems (which were fixed pretty quickly). As the sound cut off and the screen went blank, there was the standard crowd "Awww…", followed by a quiet pause and then from the dark back rows of the crowd a soft voice said "I exist…". Well, it was pretty funny at the time.

Also of note during that same outage period – the film was only about 2 minutes in when they stopped it to fix the problem, so after that initial "I exist" moment, director Mark Hartley piped up from the sidelines and said "Any questions so far?". That elicited one guy to purposely bring out the dreaded Q&A standard "Yeah, what was your budget?". Again, we all thought it was pretty humourous while sitting in the dark.