Five years ago Nellie and I saw what would become one of our all-time favourite TIFF movies: Day Night Day Night. When we saw a film in this year’s schedule by the same director, Julia Loktev, we flagged it. We flagged it hard. Luckily The Loneliest Planet (imdb | tiff) worked in the schedule, and we sat down Monday night to watch it.
Whereas most of Day Night Day Night was set in a small, bare hotel room or cramped bathroom stalls, The Loneliest Planet was set in the huge, stunning vistas of the Caucasus Mountains. But the stark, detailed, intimate nature of the story Loktev tells is still apparent, with small subtle gestures and movements and utterances making such enormous impacts. Nearly nothing happens in the scale of what we’d come to expect from Hollywood films, or any film for that matter, but that’s what made it so impressive — Loktev’s restraint. Her willingness to let a story tell itself rather than tell a story, her expectation that the audience will figure something out without having to be told. It’s very much a film festival film, and Julia Loktev is becoming very much a festival must-see for us.