Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Farewell for Now, Beloved Vanguard Blog Readers...

Welp, we thought if we just pretended like TIFF never ended we could keep living the Vanguard dream forever. Except it did. Two weeks ago. Wait, or is it three? You’re telling us it’s OCTOBER tomorrow?

Well, dang.

In any case, this was one of our best Vanguard years ever but we have a tendency to say that every year so it would be best to just start mentally preparing yourself for 2015 right now. We know we are.

All of our beautiful Vanguard babies have gone off in the world to other festivals and/or acquiring distribution and we could be more proud. Spring will be delighting even more audiences thanks to Drafthouse and Raven Banner. Shrew's Nest, Waste Land and Over Your Dead Body also played The Fantastic Fest. The Voices won two well deserved awards at l'Etrange Festival. Hyena will be distributed in North America by Tribeca Films. IFC Films scooped up Duke of Burgundy. Third World will be releasing The World of Kanako in 2015. Radius/The Weinstein Company will be bringing the terrifying children of Goodnight, Mommy to North America. Music Box picked up Alleluia for distribution and Media Luna will be distributing Luna (no relation).

So if you didn’t see these amazing films at TIFF (ugh, what a jabroni) you have a chance to redeem yourself during their theatrical releases. Just don’t mess it up this time, alright?

Until next year, beloved Vanguard Blog readers. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have something in our eyes. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fashions of Vanguard '14

We really need to get Evan from Spring some new clothes. 

We really need to get you some  new clothes.

Evan from Spring has just the one outfit and he wants to look nice for his new cthonically ancient special lady. We have some advice for him--and for you, if you want to look good red carping and at the Preëms, as the fanciest of festival-goers say. Fortunately, we have a variety of looks from the Vanguard programme films this year... and even a few from the Midnight Madness movies!

Ryan Reynolds suggests this inspirational shirt.

(Ryan Reynolds? Ryan Reynolds, man.)

There's always the elusive beauty of the semi-imaginary moth boy.

Pro tip: Wooden fingers are so hot this year!


Mesh tank tops and leather pants are back! (Not that they ever really went away…)

The fashionable lepidopterist always wears stocking and heels and sometimes hats, gloves, and capes, when the weather calls for it.

The gloves and capes make for a classic look. Of course, sometimes you might want something more classically mad science. Consider a long gown and bandages.

Or perhaps just a mask. Masks are very on trend this year.

The mud and touches of moss really bring the look together.

Or if you want your face to show, you can do a bold eye liner and a bold lip with a bearskin.

You can even try mixing a message t-shirt with an animal mask, bringing 3 looks together.

But with a full stag head, you might want to balance it with the vulnerability of nudity.

Speaking of balancing revealing skin with tantalizingly covering it up, Cal keeps his excellent penis sheathed in what appears to be a paisley thong.

But before you go full Seventies, just ask yourself, Does this mustache really express me?

It’s important for vampires to always look their best, even when vacuuming the flat.

And always be prepared for fashion mishaps. Uh oh, looks like Viago got blood on his dandy suit. Some soda water and paper towels should get those stains out.

Or you could simply change into this embroidered distressed denim jacket while your clothes are in the wash.

There are a few Fashion Don'ts however...

Creepy ex-boyfriends who give you sexually transmitted hauntings are a definite fashion no no.

When wearing blood, it’s important to blend and remember to never overdo it, Montse. Why not borrow some club soda and paper towels from Viago and tone it down a bit.

Best to make sure that dressmaker’s dummy you’re using isn’t one of Montse’s victims.

An Indiana Jones hat and double tiaras are great accessories for any discerning film fan, but only if you have Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead with you at all times.

Of course we know who the real fashion Peeps Choi Award Winner is...

He might not have won Vanguard Blog Mascot, but he won our hearts with his adorable boxing gloves.

We hope this helps, and remember to use fashion responsibly because fashion is danger. We've seen a lot of decapitations this year, and we don't want to see any more.

(Hell yeah, there's a mix of Vanguard and Midnight Madness films in this because we're Vanguarders and we do what we want. Also, we love the Midnighteers and Maniacs over at the Midnight Madness blog. Films included: Spring; The Voices; Luna; The Editor; What We Do In The Shadows; The Duke of Burgundy; Goodnight, Mommy; Cub; They Have Escaped; Tusk; It Follows; and Shrew's Nest. Special thanks to the Tusk fans and Peter Kuplowsky for being good sports).

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vanguard Program Final Screenings!

C'mon, Montse, I know you're tired honey, but there are still films to catch.

Maybe you're tired from watching movies the last 10 days, or maybe, like Shrew's Nest's Montse you've been making dresses all week and this is your first chance to get out and see a movie (and unlike Montse you are psychologically capable of leaving your apartment today). But there are still screenings of Shrew's Nest and Luna that you can make today. With clever planning you might even be able to make both! Shrew's Nest is almost a fairy tale in the Grimm tradition. Kind of like if the Brothers Grimm made Misery. Luna blends fantasy and naturalism in its exploration of grief.

This moth child is filled with clever plans.

SHREW'S NEST Final Screening:
Sunday, Sept 14th 6:30 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2

LUNA Final Screening:
Sun., Sept 14th, 8:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 9

Saturday, September 13, 2014

More Final Screenings

Which movie should we see tonight?

The World of Kanako, Alleluia and They Have Escaped all have their final screenings tonight! You have your choice of a out of control detective looking for his estranged daughter, or two movies about love on the run. Well, close enough to love on the run.

crazy, crazy love.

THE WORLD OF KANAKO Final Screening:

ALLELUIA screening times:
Sat., Sept 13th, 9:15PM, SCOTIABANK 13 
THEY HAVE ESCAPED screening times:
Sat., Sept 13, 10:00 PM SCOTIABANK 8


You may regret skipping this movie. Just sayin'. 

For the past few days, acclaimed director Takashi Miike has been giving moviegoers a ride of their lives at screenings of Over Your Dead Body. Part play, part revenge story, all sorts of WTF, this is one film that'll have people talking after. If you want to join in the conversation, you have one last chance to catch this film on Saturday evening. Oh, how perfect. You were looking to something to do together with you date. What could be more perfect than this movie?! RIGHT?! Aha. Check out the Twitter buzz and screening time below.

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY screening time:
Sat., Sept. 13th, 6:30 PM, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2


If this detective starts walking now, he can just make it to the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

This evening is the last chance to see Pieter Van Hees' Waste Land and Takashi Miike's Over Your Dead Body. Both deal with the incursion of the fantastic into the real. In one a cop's being drawn into a surreal world. The other the boundaries between a play and reality bleed.

"Choose me."

Unfortunately, they both play at 6:30. If you like cops on the edge, see Waste Land. If you like ghost stories and Japanese theater, see Over Your Dead Body.

WASTE LAND Final Screening: Sat., Sept. 13th, 6:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 13

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY Final Screeing: Sat., Sept. 13, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 6:30 PM

SPRING Final Screening!

Spring provokes so many questions. Can supernaturally tinged love work? What's up with that dead bird? And why does the supernatural involve so much blood in bathrooms? Today is your last chance to get your questions answered.

What is up with that bird?

SPRING Final Screening: Sat., Sept 13th, 3:15 PM, SCOTIABANK 3

Friday, September 12, 2014

THE WORLD OF KANAKO: Japanese Crime Novels

Man, I really wish I had thought to bring a book...

Tetsuya Nakashima adapted his screenplay for The World Of Kanako from Hateshinaki Kawaki, a bestselling novel by Akio Fukamachi. And people were surprised he did because the novel is hardcore. In Mark Schiller's review of The World Of Kanako at The Japan Times, he writes:
Akio Fukamachi’s 2004 mystery novel Hateshinaki Kawaki has sold more than 360,000 copies, but was initially considered too lurid for a mainstream film adaptation, Tetsuya Nakashima read it and began writing his own screen treatment, which became the script for Kawaki [or The World of Kanako].

There are a lot of dark, disturbing Japanese crime novels and if you found The World Of Kanako compelling, you might be interested in some of these books available in English translation. (And I'm using the publication dates of the English translations).

"Me? Kanae Minato? A criminal mastermind?"

Confessions (2014) by Kanae Minato

While Akio Fukamachi's Hateshinaki Kawaki isn't available in English translation (that I can find), the novel Nakashima adapted for his previous film, Confessions, is. (You can read more about the film from Vangaurder Darryl). After the death of her toddler, a single school teacher decides she has had enough. On the last day of school, she tells her class that she is resigning and begins her plot for revenge against two students in her class who she believes murdered her daughter. The story is told in multiple first person narratives, beginning with the teacher's. First person always creates an intimacy and in this case, it's easy enough to sympathize with a woman seeking revenge for the death of a toddler, but it also creates an uncomfortable sympathy as she choose to destroy two other children. Confessions ultimately reveals the devastating and uncontrollable consequences of revenge. Incidentally, Kanae Minato had been a home economics teacher herself before the success of Confessions, so there's that.

Natsuo Kirino is 5X winner of World's Best Author Photo.

Out (2005) by Natsuo Kirino

In the Edgar Award-winning novel Out, four women work the graveyard shift at a factory that produces ready-made box lunches, mostly staffed by married women who need extra income for their families and Brazilian immigrants. One of women is driven over the edge by her husband's inattentiveness, unfaithfulness and recklessness at a nearby casino run by the yakuza. Her friends at the factory help her dispose of the body for reasons of their own, but they end up disposing of bodies for a gangster who has the occasional body to dispose of. Meanwhile, the casino owner has been blamed for the husband's murder and he is looking to find the real killers. Worse yet, he's looking to relive a terrifying sexual fantasy. Out is a detailed portrait of four women and the pressures of contemporary Japan. It's tightly plotted, well-written, fascinating, sympathetic, and, in the end, harrowing read.

Ryu Murakami is thinking amazing things right now. Man, so amazing.

Audition (2009) by Ryu Murakami

Murakami's most famous book in the English-speaking world is probably Almost Transparent Blue. But he also wrote Audition, which Takashi Miike adapted into a film. A widower decides to marry  again at the urging of his son and his best friend. He doesn't want to date and has very specific ideas of who he wants to marry--in particular, a woman who is accomplished in some art, regardless of the level of her success. His best friend sells him on the idea of pretending to make a film and holding auditions. He even has an explanation all ready for why the film would never be made. And this plan seems to work when he meets the perfect woman and all she asks is that he only love her. But his friend thinks there's something off about her and there was that guy in the wheelchair that seemed to recognize her and, worse, be afraid of her. Another well-written, slow-burn with a sudden burst of violence at the end.

Keigo Hagashino's brain is filled with very precise and detailed plots, even now.

The Devotion of Suspect X (2011) by Keigo Hagashino

There is another unfortunate body disposal situation when a divorced mother is confronted by her angry ex-husband demanding money (again). Fortunately, her next door neighbor is a sympathetic high school math teacher who is bored by his job and also highly analytical. He develops a plan to cover up the whole incident that is seemingly perfect. But there is, of course, a detective who just has a bad feeling about the whole thing. Less intense than the other books, but just as psychological and more caught up in the game between the math teacher and the detective trying to catch him.

Rampo is busy reshaping fiction.

The Edogawa Rampo Reader (2008) by Edogawa Rampo

Rampo shaped so much of modern and contemporary Japanese fiction, and defined crime fiction in particular that it's worth taking a look at any of his collections. His novella, Black Lizard was adapted twice. Kinji Fukasaku's 1968 adaptation stars Akihiro Miwa and Yukio Mishima, but I'm very partial to Umetsugu Inoue's 1962 version starring Machiko Kyo (Rashomon; Ugetsu). Both are based on a stage adaptation by Yukio Mishima. I chose this book because it includes a collection of his short stories, but also some of his essays on film. Besides Black Lizard, Rampo has 44 other screenwriting credits.

THE WORLD OF KANAKO Final Screening:
Saturday, Sept 13 9:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

And because I mentioned Takashi Miike, here are the OVER YOUR DEAD BODY screening times:
Fri., Sept. 12, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM
Sat., Sept. 13, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 6:30 PM


Filmmaker JP Valkeapää has been impressing audiences at this Festival with his unique and unexpected take at a "troubled youth" film. Joni and Raisa's impromptu, drug-fueled, animal skin wearing romp through Finland is definitely worth a watch and luckily you've got one last chance. Use it wisely!  

Nicholas Bell of Ion Cinema had this to say about They Have Escaped

"...JP Valkeapää has created an unnerving and unexpectedly off kilter teen romance that goes down a road less traveled. Throughout what seems a prolonged set-up, a variety of interactions with various institutions inevitably result in escalating instances of two teens engaging in petty crime due to cold shoulders, apathetic adults, and uncompromising rulebooks. We’re lulled into a sense of security as to where the journey’s taking us until a late switch up severely alters the tone of the film to upsetting effect. 
As Joni, Teppo Manner gives a very mild mannered and expressive performance, his interactions requiring little to no dialogue. Roosa Soderholm’s Raissa is a bit more expressive, a blonde punk resembling Fairuza Balk dressed up as Debbie Harry for Halloween. By the time we leave them behind, ending with an ambiguity that will only leave you further disjointed, you’ll realize Valkeapaa has managed to burrow deeply into your skin."

They Have Escaped 
is screening at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Vanguard Programme. Check out more Vanguard films on the official Festival website.

THEY HAVE ESCAPED screening time:

Saturday, Sept 13, 10:00 PM SCOTIABANK 8

ALLELUIA: Twitter Buzz!

If you like online dating, scam artists, and psychotically jealous women, you need to see Alleluia. Are those not enough good reasons to see it? You're one of those hard to please film fans, aren't you? Here's what people are saying about it on Twitter.

NOW do you get it? We thought so. There's one more chance to see the latest from director Fabrice Du Welz, so do not miss out.

ALLELUIA Final Screening: Sat., Sept 13th, 9:15PM, SCOTIABANK 13

WASTE LAND: Twitter Buzz!

Perhaps at this point in the Festival you're thinking, "Hrrm. Nothing would please me more than a gritty cop drama with surrealistic overtones." We've all been there, right? Good news! Pieter Van Hees's Waste Land has one more screening! Here is a sampling of the buzz surrounding the film.

There you have it, folks. Waste Land: a film to fill your gritty cop drama needs. Don't miss out! WASTE LAND Final Screening: Sat., Sept. 13th, 6:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 13

THE VOICES: Twitter Buzz!

Sure, we could make a bunch of corny puns about "listening to the voices that are telling you go see The Voices," but we'd rather just let the overwhelmingly positive buzz about the movie speak for itself.

You have one more chance to see The Voices at the Festival! THE VOICES Final Screening: Fri., Sept. 12th, 6:00 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

Thursday, September 11, 2014


It's, uh, a fun-time family film. We promise. 

If you've missed out on your chance to be completely shocked and literally on the edge of your seat (or maybe hiding under it) at a screening of Goodnight Mommy, you've got one more chance! ONE MORE CHANCE. It may be in the middle of the day on a Friday but that's okay because you can just call in sick to work. And maybe after seeing this film you'll feel a little sick to your stomach anyway so it won't really be a lie, right? Check out what Twitter has been saying about this tension-filled horror story (twins, need we say more *shudder*) including a really exciting announcement from Radius at the end!

Goodnight Mommy is screening at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Vanguard Programme. Check out more Vanguard films on the official Festival website.

GOODNIGHT MOMMY screening times:
Friday, Sept 12th, 3:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY: Woodblock Prints of Oiwa

Oiwa, the main character of Yotsuya Kaidan, the play-within-a-film in Takashi Miike's Over Your Dead Body, is a common subject in Japanese art. Peruse at some ukiyo-e woodblock prints before Over Your Dead Body premieres tonight.

Here is a detail from an Utagawa Kuniyoshi print of Oiwa confronting her husband Iemon. Oiwa's spirit--and the spirit of their dead child--is manifesting from a paper lantern.

Two lantern images of Oiwa by Katsushika Hokusai.

 A scene from a performance of Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan rendered by Utagawa Kunikazu. (A lot of woodblock prints are kind of like lobby cards or trading cards, allowing theater audiences to remember their favorite moments or favorite actors).

And one by  Utagawa Toyokuni III.

An Utagawa Kuniyoshi, this time with a poem by Ōnakatomi no Yoshinobu.

And two more by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. One a portrait of a particular performer as Oiwa.

And one with pretty much all the wtf in the world.

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY screening times:
Thurs., Sept. 11, Ryerson 6:00 PM
Fri., Sept. 12, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM
Sat., Sept. 13, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 6:30 PM