TIFF: “Born and Bred” and “Jade Warrior”

Friday had two world premieres, the Argentine “Born and Bred” and the Sino-Finnish (?) “Jade Warrior“.

Jade Warrior is an interesting amalgam. A romantic epic wuxia film taking place in both modern Finland and ancient China, connected through a mythology that takes its roots from ancient tales from both cultures and the (slight) links between them. It’s ambitious and it has its moments, like the fine finale, but everything leading up to that felt too forced for my tastes. The script was weak. The action merely decent. And the chemistry was lacking. In a movie about an eternal love story (sort of), that is one thing that you’d at least expect to be there. I didn’t feel it. The love emanated from the script and not the actors.

The whole production was a labour of love for the director, so I almost feel bad being down on it (that’s the thing with such premieres, the people that devoted years of their lives to seeing the production through are right there.) Jade Warrior was alright, showing a lot of potential, and I would expect it to profit (a mere 2.4 million euro budget) enough to maybe allow for another attempt, but for now I’ll just say that it was a worthy first attempt (Twitch liked it a lot more than I did).

If it wasn’t for the Spanish, Born and Bred could easily be confused with a Canadian film. I mean that as a compliment. Primarily set in very rural and frigid southern Argentina, it’s the story of a man escaping his past life after a tragedy. The photography is nice, the characters are flawed but likeable, the situation believable, and the ending had a nice touch. Nothing overly spectacular, but a decent film and one worth recommending.

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