THE SWEARING JAR (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

The Swearing Jar is a very compelling love story about a woman who is indeed broken inside. Through the beautiful songs and lyrics, more or less, we come to know what is really happening. But it’s the commanding Lindsay MacKay direction that brings an important aspect of Carey and Simon’s marriage to life and provides an exquisite explanation as to why Carey does what she does. She does look guilty. Because she does not want to let the other man into her life. But whatever we learn soon leaves her no option. But why complicate it if it’s an easy step? And that’s why The Swearing Jar is so good – it slowly builds up the narrative and delivers it with a bang, but through humor, gentleness and charisma.

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AN OLD LADY (TIFF20) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

If elder abuse is a taboo subject that is rarely afforded the serious consideration and action that such horrors demand, then elder sexual abuse is even more so. There’s a sense of sadness that courageous and well executed film about such a difficult subject may pass unseen because the taboo nature of the subject may turn an audience off. But that is what makes this film so urgent; An Old Lady tells us something we don’t want to hear in a way that makes us forget why we refused to listen for so long.

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Women-made Shorts at TIFF 2020 – Pam Grady reports

Feature films may draw the buzz at film festivals, but shorts are where plenty of gems that are just awaiting for an audience to find them reside. That is certainly true of the Toronto International Film Festival, which even in this pandemic-impacted year, has mounted an impressive slate of five shorts programs. These three, all made by women, are part of TIFF’s Shorts 5 program, described as “journey of discovery.” They certainly are that.

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Midnight Madness Gender Parity at TIFF 2020 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

The 2020 Midnight Madness program is notable for reaching parity through an emphasis on both quantity and quality, making claims of tokenism effectively impossible. While the ethical debates around programming and equity in terms of gender and other points of difference are complex, to achieve gender parity in a program of top shelf films where 50% of the filmmakers are women and 50% are people of color is no small deal.

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Women’s Filmmaking Highlights at TIFF 2020 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Big screen or small screen, on-site or watching streaming from home, while many elements of TIFF 2020 will be a new experience, the seemingly conscious emphasis on women’s filmmaking from around the world thankfully remains intact. Unlike a number of other high-profile festivals that have yet to adequately read the room, TIFF again avoids the mistake of assuming women in front of the camera will make up for not programming films where they prominently feature behind it in key creative roles.

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