Cinefranco Rating: NNN
Now in its seventh year, Toronto's French-language film fest gathers 36 features from across la Francophonie at the Royal from Friday (March 26) to April 1. From Switzerland, Raoul Ruiz's Ce Jour-là (Thursday, April 1, 3 pm) plays like The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie On Heavy Ritalin. A black comedy set in the near future, it chronicles the adventures of a mad heiress, her scheming family and an escaped mental patient. It has funny moments, particularly around a couple of cops out of Simenon via Ionesco, but it's wan and muted and the crazy people titter tiresomely and talk about angels ad literal nauseam to show they're unhinged.
More interesting is Hop (Wednesday, March 31, 12:30 pm), Belgian director Dominique Standaert's gorgeous black-and-white drama about a Burundian boy who teams up with an aging anarchist to rescue his father from evil immigration officials. There are enormously engaging performances, particularly by Kalomba Mboyi as the son. Gives the phrase "the terrorists win" an entirely different ring.