TIFF 2019: short movies – A Fool God, Billy and Daughter – quick reviews

Billy. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF

For the first time I’ve been granted press accreditation for the Toronto International Film Festival®, recognised as one of the largest and most prestigious film festivals in the world. So, I had the opportunity to watch and review a bunch of movies. This article features my reviews of three short films: A Fool God (Hiwot Admasu Getaneh, France, drama, 18’15”), Billy (Zachary Epcar, USA, horror, 8’01”), Daughter (Daria Kascheeva, Czech Republic, drama, 14’44”).

Continue reading and check my grades for the three shorts below…


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A Fool God – quick review

A Fool God - Image credit, Courtesy of TIFF
A Fool God. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF

When young Mesi steps in for her squeamish brother to perform a traditional ritual that could only be carried out by men, she faces blame for the negative outcome. However, she wants to prove her family (and their beliefs) wrong, to show that whoever considers her guilty for the poor outcome is a fool.

Genuine and relatable performance are what carry this short film about women’s struggle in a man-dominated world. Born in Addis Ababa in 1988, the young filmmaker brings a lot from her personal experience to this film, providing it with a level of authenticity that definitely elevates the material.

Sad, powerful and poignant, A Fool God is a solid contender for Best International Short Film at TIFF.

8/10

Billy – quick review

Billy - Image credit, Courtesy of TIFF
Billy. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF

Shot on 16mm film with a square aspect ratio, Billy is a real treat for the eye. Working as the re-enactment of a scene from an early episode of Melrose Place, Billy opens this domestic psychodrama, a look into the horrors of interior decoration and the boundless entanglement of things.

Fifth short movie from young American filmmaker Zachary Epcar, this short looks purposefully dirty and gritty, and benefits from a score that turns the 8-minute-long runtime into a proper brief nightmare that sticks with you long after watching it. Great framing and odd, almost-disturbing camera-angles complete the picture, for a short film that hopefully will open the doors to feature-length filmmaking for Epcar.

8/10

Daughter – quick review

This silent film made in puppet animation style opens with the titular daughter in a hospital room, as she’s recalling a scene from her youth: the little girl tried to share with her father an experience she had about an injured bird. Such tiny incident has affected the daughter (and, perhaps, her father) for her entire life.

This short is simply jaw-dropping: Daria Kascheeva created the puppets herself and gave them a really lively appearance, since the puppets are almost able to act with their facial expressions within the movie. The camera work is marvellous, with the use of close-ups, hand-held like and low depth of field shots that make Daughter feel like a para-documentary. The purposefully uncanny look of puppets and settings pulls the viewer into this story, which primarily revolves around the father-daughter relationship based on the director’s own experience.

Daugther                                            10/10

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