Those Ties that Bind (VIFF Review)

The subject of this column of short films is love. A close personal bond you can form with somebody in your life. Once you get to know them well enough. Each short film has different scenarios, whether it be family love, or getting know someone we just met or even severing ties with someone we knew for a long time. Because sometimes those times bind. Happening tonight at 6pm over at the International Village Cinema over in Chinatown and on October 5 at 1:45 pm.

Right at the beginning, we get Afterglow, which is a story about a gay man who has severe depression and it’s up to his partner to help him feel better. Not only does it focus on the type of love that two men share in a bond, but it also shows there’s another chance when misery takes over and there’s someone who cares about you.

Everything about what we love and have though, won’t last forever though. Because Backstory is able to explain it through a film that goes through age of a boy into adulthood as a man. A film that shows the harsh realities of life, and why it’s important to cherish everything around it. Because one day, it will all be gone.

After that comes a similar film in the same vein, Forever Now. A young couple decide it’s finally time to break up but they make the best of it by spending the entire weekend on booze and drugs, doing all sorts of wild activities for fun. And of course, there’s tender sad moments mixed in the whole scenario as well. A touching film even if it seemed fast-paced and exciting at times.

Sisterly love is touched upon in the next film, The Good Girls. Paula is a teen girl who has a rebellious side to her. Her younger sister is more practical though. However, they soon find themselves dealing with big dilemmas and their own differences clashing when one of the horses on their farm loses an eye and has to go away. This one seemed a bit disturbing but it goes to show sisterly love conquers all, even if everything isn’t quite solved in a good way.

Undoubtedly, the best kind of love usually lasts long for many years. In Home, Sweet Home, an elderly man has to go to the hospital and stay there. But his wife comes up with fun ideas for his final days. Even if things are dark and disturbing in this one, this goes to show that love truly does make desperate times so much better no matter what.

Right after that, comes Land of Happy Dreams, which focuses on the love between a single mother and her young daughter. The two are living in poverty which makes their living difficult. This film shows that the bond between a mother and a daughter is strong no matter what and that Mommy can always find a way.

Even people from different walks of life and different places can form some kind of special bond. In Outlines, a teenage girl comes home to her father’s flat to discover a prostitute sticking around. Who would’ve expected these two to make some kind of bond together? Because even hookers have feelings, and there’s always some kind of connection they can make with other people, even if they’re not clients.

Sisters is the final film of the show. Two sisters from different paths reunite to take care of their father’s belongings after he has passed on. They both live by different viewpoints and lifestyles so they don’t always agree on everything. So naturally, hard feelings and disagreements come between them as they decide what should go and what should stay along with how both of them live their lives. It’s a dark but impressive short film which really shows despite issues, there’s still some love somewhere, even if it doesn’t always show.

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