Toronto On My Mind
I went in not really knowing what to expect, and I was a tiny bit afraid that JCVD would fall into that annoying meta-movie genre that came in with Being John Malkovich and went out with, well... I'm still waiting for people to realize that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was overrated. Luckily, the movie was a lot grittier than that, and I look forward to the total career reinvention in store for Van Damme when the movie gets released worldwide. Sure, Tarantino can reinvent John Travolta and Robert Forster. But only Jean-Claude Van Damme can reinvent Jean-Claude Van Damme.
From one of the loudest movies of the festival to one of the quietest movies ever made. And because you've read this far, I have to assume that either a) you're passionate about independent films and want to read as much as you can about the topic even though you may never have the opportunity to see most of these movies for yourself or b) you remember a Roswell recap I wrote eight years ago and you're waiting for this to become that funny. I'll assume it's the former and take for granted that you're curious about a movie from the Philippines that's considered indie even within the Filipino film industry. The movie is Adela, and it stars Filipino film star Anita Linda, who, according to IMDb, lists Adela as her 171st film. And if this is the first time you've ever heard her name, then, like me, welcome to the entire concept of the Filipino film industry.
In Adela, the 80-plus actress plays the title character, a grandmother celebrating her 80th birthday. Although "celebrating" might be too strong a word, considering she lives on a dumpsite somewhere on the outskirts of Manila and none of her children come to see her. She does have a group of well-meaning neighbors who ask her to hang out, where they get drunk and sing karaoke (Eric always promises me that the Filipino obsession with karaoke extends past his family and to the entire nation of the Philippines, and I now have to admit that he's right), but the end of the film (whatever, you'll never see it), features one endless shot of Adela sitting by herself, near the water's edge, crying. It is a heartbreaking and honest portrayal of a woman nearing the end of a life that has passed her by, and it will either make you run out and call your grandmother or, more likely, kill yourself.