Concluding Martin Carter’s dispatches from the frontline of festival going, here’s his final report for us:
Sunday was horror day for me at TIFF. Two films that approached the genre in completely different ways; firstly Juan Carlos Medinsa’s The Limehouse Golem is an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s novel, Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem starring Bill Nighy (toning down his recent dottiness ) as a police inspector investigating a series of grisly killings in Victorian London. The film wittily involves not only Dan LenoI its plot but also George Gissing and Karl Marx along with plenty of blood and gore. The production is plush and colourful but lacks the industrial Hades look that David Lynch created for his vision of 1880s London in The Elephant Man; instead Limehouse is stereotypically shown as a collection of mean alleyways and streets with, as usual, fog shrouded docks and garish musichalls aplenty. I was counting off the minutes before an opium den might appear…and on cue, so one duly appeared out of the fog.!
On a more cerebral note, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first film made outside his native Japan, Daguerreotype, is another calm, cold exercise in unease. Shot in France, the film has a Victorian element to it with a photographer (Oliver Gourmet) obsessed with using 19th century photographic techniques of exposing light sensitive plates for up to an hour to create eerie portraits of his daughter in order to recreate images of his dead wife. As with all Kurosawa’s films, the narrative is elusive, and bafflingly so. The line between reality and fantasy is never clear and when this is done in such everyday situations as modern day Parisian suburbia it leaves a constant sense of dread. There is one jump-out-of-your- seat shock moment and a number of times where the sight of a person just standing in the corner of a room can freeze your blood.