Eden

Broad Green Pictures

Eden is a film about passion, at least at first. It’s about youth and the thrill of finding community in art, the music that takes over your soul. It’s about dancing, drugs, and sex. It’s Almost Famous and Finding Llewyn Davis, sort of. By the time it ends it’s covered over two decades of dreams and successes, setbacks and failures, all of the above and nothing at all. Mia Hansen-Love‘s fourth feature begins in the early 1990s. A French teenager named Paul (Felix de Givry) and his friends are on the cusp of falling deeply in love with garage, the genre of electronic dance music that grew up at Paradise Garage in New York City. These are early days, with raves held in caves and disused submarines hanging around the French countryside. Paul has a moment of revelation under some trees in the early dawn, his post-concert gray haze interrupted by a bright orange bird, animated into the frame like something out of Mary Poppins. This technique doesn’t come back, but it doesn’t have to. Hansen-Love lets us know from the beginning that for Paul, music is magic (and possibly hallucination).

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Focus Features

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival boasted dozens upon dozens of films to sate the cinema-hungry masses, and we’re willing to bet that we saw…well, at least a hearty fraction of them. The festival has just wrapped up, and as we all attempt to recover from ten-plus days of universally excellent film-going, it only seems appropriate to revisit our favorite films of the festival. These are the titles that stuck with us, the ones we recommended to anyone who would listen, the ones we couldn’t quite shake, a big mix of the funny and the fantastic, the sad and the silly, the wild and the weird. Are these the best films of TIFF? We certainly think so.

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trailer eden

SXSW 2013 is mere weeks away, so it makes sense that we’re getting our first trailer for a film that premiered to great acclaim at last year’s festival winning the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Better late than never I suppose. Eden is a true story about human sex trafficking and stars Jamie Chung in the title role as a Korean-American teenager abducted in the mid-’90s and held prisoner for two years. Along with several other girls she’s forced into work as a sex slave in clubs, motels and even fraternity houses. As the hardships, torture and degradation mount she realizes that her survival may very well depend on her level of cooperation with her captors, and a decision is made that she can never fully return from. This is writer/director Megan Griffiths‘ third feature film and co-stars Beau “No, The Other One” Bridges and Matt O’Leary. Check out the trailer below…unless you don’t want to be spoiled by the film’s sole (and to be fair, fairly predictable) twist.

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Hyun Jae (Jamie Chung) is an eighteen year old Korean-American girl who works at her parents’ store during the day and occasionally sneaks off for fun with friends at night. Her latest nocturnal jaunt sees her in a bar with a fake ID, a belly full of booze and the attention of a kind-looking off-duty fireman. She accepts a ride from him but quickly discovers her trust was poorly placed. She’s kidnapped, driven a good distance away to an undisclosed location and forced to work alongside other young women as sexual entertainment for bastards with a bankroll. This becomes her new life, and as the weeks, months and years pass she discovers a part of her willing to do just about anything to survive. More than that, she discovers that she’s willing to sacrifice others if it means her life will be made that much easier. It’s a harsh reality to face, that you’d hurt others to save yourself, and in a fictional story it makes for a fascinating character flaw. But in a true story? It’s potentially devastating.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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