Countdown to CIFF: #4. Bliss

For the 10 days leading up to CIFF’s opening gala, I’ll be posting a quick write-up per day on some of my favourite movies at the fest. I’m not exactly unbiased — CIFF does give me a paycheque, after all — but these posts are my own opinions and not those of the festival.

Bliss is a love story, but it’s safe to say it’s unconventional. Unless your idea of convention is broad enough to include the story of a refugee-turned-prostitute falling for a street punk while trying to make a life for herself and avoiding deportation. It’s a grim setting, and the opening sequence doesn’t hold back in showing just why Irina wants to get as far from her homeland as possible, but the film itself is sweeter than you would expect–even when it’s showing the day-to-day realities of people living on the far fringes of society.

It’s definitely not often that you see a movie with the kind of emotional spread that Bliss displays, and while that’s what makes it an easy movie to recommend, it also makes it a little harder to pin down. Will it make a good date movie? That’s hard to say–it sort of depends if dismemberment is the kind of thing that throws you off your game. But if you’re looking for an unconventional look at the lengths that people will go for love, Bliss is a solid bet.

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