The Survivor: TIFF 2021 Review

Year: 2021 Runtime: 129 Minutes Director: Barry Levinson Writer(s): Justine Juel Gillmer Stars: Ben Foster, Billy Magnussen, Danny Devito, John Leguizamo, Vicky Krieps “Rain Man” (1988) director Barry Levinson returns to delve into the dark story of an Auschwitz survivor fighting his past and wrestling with survivor’s guilt. “The Survivor”(2021) is a biographical depiction of Harry Haft’s (Ben Foster) struggles after surviving Auschwitz by fighting … Continue reading The Survivor: TIFF 2021 Review

ITOL’s Cinematic Dads: Leave No Trace

“Leave No Trace” is one of those films that remains too painful for me to watch. There’s only a handful of films that I know I’ll struggle to rewatch again, films like “The Grave of the Fireflies”, “Shoplifters” and “Nobody Knows” each one of these films have connected with me on such a personal level and what occurs on-screen eerily mirrors my own life experiences. Continue reading ITOL’s Cinematic Dads: Leave No Trace

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.7: Leave No Trace

I had the unique privilege of reading My Abandonment in Pete Rock’s creative nonfiction class during my junior year at Reed College, a tiny, liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon. I already knew that I wanted to write a creative thesis my senior year, but I had not yet taken a creative writing class (oops). Pete was kind enough to take a chance on me, accepting me into his mostly full upper-level course. It was in this course that we read a vast array of creative nonfiction, a unique genre that Pete capped off with one of his own works.

The writing of My Abandonment is solid, of course, the story of a weathered Iraq war verteran and his thirteen-year-old daughter imbued with the rough Oregon life that I myself had been growing accustomed to for the past two and a half years. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.7: Leave No Trace

Retrospective Review: Leave No Trace

Debra Granik is an expert in creating stories with a naturalistic sense and giving us characters that are vulnerable, and organic. “Leave No Trace” (2018) is no exception. Will (Ben Foster) and his thirteen-year-old daughter Tom (Thomasin Mckenzie) live alone in a remote part of the woods. There they’ve survived, without technology or material things, and he’s taught her the skills needed to make it away from the world. Will desperately does not want to be found and the two practice drills to ensure Tom is ready if something happens. Is it for the best? The film tackles the familial impact in a new and gradually compelling way. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Leave No Trace