Isabelle Huppert (left) and Greta Scacchi suffocate us in Hidden Love.
With programming from Mexico to Belgium, this year's Toronto International Latin Film Festival covers a lot of ground.
The influence of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's Death Of A Bureaucrat hangs over Mexico's To Die On Sunday (Friday, October 31, 9 pm; Rating: NNN), a black comedy about a corpse that can't find its way to the grave and a society that screws its citizens long after they're dead.
Dim-witted Carlos (Humberto Busto) doesn't have the good sense to monitor the discount undertaker (Silverio Palacios) in charge of his deceased uncle. When he finds his uncle's corpse in his friend's anatomy class, Carlos steals the body, chases the crooked undertaker and falls for the latter's social outcast daughter, Ana (Maya Zapata).
The admirable cast infuses the characters with charm and compassion. The same can't be said for director Daniel Gruener, whose excessively slick style - swooping pans and golden hues, like something from Michael Bay - just doesn't suit the material.
The Italy/Luxembourg/Belgium co-production Hidden Love (Tuesday, November 4, 7 pm; Rating: NN), on the other hand, brings us so deep into its main character's psychosis that it's suffocating. Isabelle Huppert plays the suicidal Danielle, a woman in a psychiatric hospital who seems to have been suffering from postpartum depression since her adult daughter's birth.
Sessions with her doctor (Greta Scacchi) are a whole lot of psychobabble. The characters don't have conversations so much as speak to the greater meaning of... well, just about everything.
Director Alessandro Capone's agitating cuts, blue tints and cold and sterile set design suggest Danielle's state of mind so much that it's claustrophobic. The only relief comes from daughter Sophie (an elegant Mélanie Laurent), whose minimal appearances give us someone to empathize with and whose disappearance makes obvious what this film is lacking.