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Inside TIFF 2012 Day 2: Fathers & Sons with Motorcycles & Guns

11:30 pm – The disappointments of Ernest & Celestine and Something in the Air didn’t do much to spoil today’s first film, Harmony Korine’s unexpectedly rapturous Spring Breakers. It’s his follow-up to the divisive and altogether ugly Trash Humpers, and is actually strikingly similar to that film in every way except its aesthetics. Where the former film portrays rancid people doing doing rancid things in a rancid VHS format, Spring Breakers embraces a glowing HD video to frame its young, beautiful bodies doing what young, beautiful bodies tend to do when they’re in warm, sunny places. Otherwise, both film have a common interest in showing collectives of friends obsessively performing hedonistic acts as if they were occupations – the trash humpers hump trash, the spring breakers spring break – to the point where they come to inhabit their own fantastic realities and abandon the ways of the civilized. The three girls at the center of Spring Breakers (played by Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, and Rachel Korine) form a Feuilladian trio of disguised do-badders, committing brutal crimes wearing pink ski masks so that they can go on vacation and never return. James Franco as a Riff Raff look-alike named Alien steals the show with his honky gangster character, living an analogous way of life that the girls aspire to, and initiating one the best scenes of the year with his piano-accompanied sing-a-long to Britney Spear’s ‘Everytime.’ It’s still not a well-made film in the most basic sense of what that entails, but it’s singular, gorgeous, and rarely not a riot – more than we sometimes bargain for when we head into a Korine film. [Blake Williams]

5:40 pm –  After a ridiculous 5 hour Megabus trip from Buffalo to Toronto this morning that began about 12 hours ago, I arrived safe and sound, diving headlong into this year’s impressive slate with the Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon doc, The Central Park Five, which disects the famous legal and media debacle that sent New York into outrage.  Already nabbed by Sundance Selects, the doc is a tragically moving bit of non-fiction cinema, though a bit over-long.  Shortly after, Eric, Blake and I met up at a packed screening of Something in the Air, Assayas’ follow-up to his masterful terrorist bio-epic, Carlos.  The film, though a warmly rendered time capsule entrenched in the torn youthful spirit of rebellion, artistry and ever-failing love, is a bit convoluted.  Like its young leads, it can’t seem to focus its attention on the thing it needs most – direction.  Up next, the British psycho-thriller Berberian Sound Studio.  [Jordan M. Smith]

8:00 am – Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master are hands down, the most anticipated double film bill at TIFF this year but before those receive the royal treatment later tonight , the press on hand get their first taste of what was recently unveiled at Venice with noteworthy items such as Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air. It makes for a pretty stellar Day 2 if I don’t say so myself. [Eric Lavallee]


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