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Articles by Shahbaz Khayambashi

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2016: ‘As the Gods Will’ and ‘In a Valley of Violence’

As the Gods Will (DIR. Takashi Miike) Takashi Miike has two modes of filmmaking: a deadly serious style that’s evident in films like Audition, and a goofy, over-the-top style visible in films like Ichi the Killer.  In As the Gods Will, it takes the viewer mere minutes to figure out which category Miike’s latest falls into (for me, it was the moment when a student gets decapitated and bleeds red marbles).

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2016: Shahbaz on Short Films

Shorts After Dark – a program of carefully selected international short films – returned to the Toronto After Dark Film Festival on Saturday, October 15.  In the past, these shorts usually run the gamut of subgenres, as well as the gamut of quality, with the spectrum ranging from brilliance to downright horrendous.  This year’s selection was solid.  Even in comparison to past showcases, this year’s worst short was still better than former duds that have made the cut.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2016: ‘Blood Father’ and ‘Kill Command’

Blood Father (DIR. Jean-François Richet) Mel Gibson was once one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.  Now, he is staging a comeback which includes a few directorial efforts.  Preceding those is his starring role in Jean-Francois Richet’s Blood Father, a film which could be cynically viewed as an attempt to get Gibson back on the public’s radar and nothing more, if only it was not so entertaining and memorable.

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2016: ‘Train to Busan’ and ‘Trash Fire’

Train to Busan (DIR. Yeon Sang-ho) Sometimes, a film fails at everything – an abject failure.  Sometimes, a film fails at the majority of its goals while succeeding in some, earning a designation of mediocrity.  Then, there are the rare cases of films failing in a majority of ways with a few successes, wherein those successes manage to outshine the failure.  Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan fits into that final example, a film that comes…

Reviews

Christine

Christine Chubbuck was a woman who managed to do what no one else could – shock America.  In 1974, in the midst of countless political assassinations, mass murders and serial killings, it would take a truly jarring event to shake the American public, which turned out to be a suicide on live television;  “the latest in blood and guts, in living colour”.  Chubbuck’s suicide has been an object of morbid curiosity since and it has…

Reviews

The Birth of a Nation

Sometimes, it becomes difficult to separate an artist’s work from their personality;  sometimes, this is because the artist has done something horrible and unforgivable.  Director, writer and leading actor Nate Parker is one of those people: this is not the space to get into his actions, but I would recommend all uninformed readers to do their research before deciding if they wish to give him their money.  With that out of the way, it became…

Reviews

The Lovers and the Despot

In 1978, South Korean actor Choi Eun-hee went missing.  Her ex-husband, director Shin Sang-ok, made it his mission to find her when he too went missing.  Their whereabouts remained elusive for some time, but the answer that eventually came out was stranger than any potential explanation: the two South Korean celebrities had been kidnapped by none other than North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il with the purpose of having them direct films for the people of…

Festival Coverage

TIFF 2016: ‘Paterson’

Paterson is a study of ennui in its purest form.  Paterson is a love letter to the seemingly inconsequential town of Paterson, New Jersey.  Paterson is about Zen and the creation of art.  The fact that all of this is contained in a film about the quotidian activities of a man’s life across one week is nothing short of a miracle.