TIFF 2012 Highlights: FIN (The End)

TIFF 2012 Highlights: FIN (The End)

Worth It
Sep 20, 2012
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Spanish film maker, this site Jorge Torregrossa, drugs presented the world premiere of his first feature, Fin, at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. For those of you who aren’t good with other languages, Fin is spanish for “The End”. This suspenseful drama surrounding a reunion of old friends is, indeed, about the end of the world. Think of it as The Big Chill meets Left Behind (but without the dreadful acting styles of Kirk Cameron).

The central character, Felix, picks up what seems to be his girlfriend and the two head out of the city to spend the weekend reconnecting with his old school friends at a cottage. Soon the warmth of camaraderie begins to fade as old wounds and past resentment begin to play into the dynamic of these half-dozen friends. Several of them have brought their partners who know little of the details of their collective past. This provides a perfect vehicle for stories of old to be shared with the audience. We soon learn that one of the friends, nicknamed “The Prophet”, has not arrived. This seems to be no surprise to everyone except for one of the friends. She is gravely disappointed, we find out, because The Prophet was the one who actually secretly organized the reunion. Tensions rise as a result and tempers flare as the complications of the past come back to haunt each person in his/her own way.

With this emotional ground-work laid rather nicely, the story takes a bizarre turn for the worse as a “cosmic event” occurs in the middle of the night while the friends are fighting around a campfire. With the sound of a jet and the bright light of a bursting sun, the friends are frightened and shocked to learn that this mysterious happening has stopped all the power in the cottage. Even the cars won’t start. Watches stop. Everything and anything with any power source is abruptly and curiously ceased. From there Torregrossa builds a strange, tense and accelerating journey as the group tries to find help and learn about what has happened. The only problem is there is no one to be found. Cars are abandoned in the middle of the road. Houses with dinner set out, half-eaten, are vacant with only vultures to be found feasting on what’s been left behind. Then the horror really begins. The group begins to shrink as one by one individuals start disappearing.

Torregrossa does a masterful job at keeping the audience in the dark about certain things for exactly the right amount of time. As the tale unravels we find the emotional weight of the relationships slowly being strained through a bleak filter of science fiction and mystery. Eventually, it becomes clear that the story is really just an allegory. While on the surface it seems to be a tale about loneliness and despair, we are eventually pulled into a wonderful examination of what it means to be alive and share love with other humans.

Fin sits with you for days after, creating a bitter sweet sense of wonder, regret and hope. It is life affirming without being overly sentimental. It’s clever without being smug. Fin is a rare experience that demonstrates the true power of cinema.

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Craig the Critic

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