Tom at the Farm (Rating: 3/4)
How to describe Tom at the Farm … I have little idea! This obscure genre-blending film by avant-garde Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan is one of the weirdest and most oddball experiments I have ever seen.
It is a suspense-filled story of a gay man who visits his ex-lover’s funeral while staying with the deceased’s mother, who knows nothing of her son’s homosexuality (this statement is more lucid than the film).
It blends many genres: noir, mystery and dark comedy. The most intriguing aspect of the film is the pioneering of a suspense-filling technique. Dolan raises the stakes and adds claustrophobia by lessening the aspect ratio as scenes progress smoothly and nearly unnoticeably, making the image take up less and less of the screen (the borders become larger). It pulls you in and doesn’t let go.
Michael Kolhlaas (2.5/4)
If the story of Michael Kolhlaas were to be translated into modern times it would concern a rivalry between a businessman and a government bureaucrat that begins in a confrontation of road rage and quickly escalates to the murdering of their respective friends and family.
Taking place in 16th-century France, Mads Mikkelson plays Michael Kolhlaas, a wealthy horse dealer who is unjustly treated by the lord of the area, who confiscates and abuses two of his healthy and strong horses.
Kolhlaas wants justice.
When asked by his daughter the reason he has begun a war with the lord by rounding up peasants as mercenaries he answers that it is not to avenge his wife or his horses. It is the lack of justice in the whole situation. Justice is eventually served, but to Kolhlaas’ surprise it knocks at his door as well.
Joshua Cabrita lives in Port Coquitlam.
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