Antichrist (Denmark) - started off the festival with the allegedly love it or hate it effort from the Danish director Lars von Trier. Actually I didn't love it, but can't say I hated it either. The first scene was beautifully shot and cinematographically (if that's a word) truly impressive. But the next major section of the story are the wife being very upset over the tragic death of their son, and her therapist husband being a possibly well meaning but annoying know it all. Then the extent of the mental illness involved becomes clearer and we get to watch something that's hard for me not to compare to Saw torture porn. Admittedly some of it is creative. I'll certainly never think of the phrase about being tied to the grindstone the same way again. On twitter I quipped that absent the death of the child it was way too reminiscent of my first marriage for my taste. But when I wasn't looking away I wasn't really that interested (again - outside the first scene).
Nymph (Thailand)- went to see this mainly because I really enjoyed the directors last film 'Ploy.' This one was interesting with a similar languid pace and playing games with our perceptions of what's on screen. But it failed to capture me in the same way. More later I suppose. Not a bad choice in between things, but I wouldn't advise skipping something you're dying to see for it.
Castaway on the Moon (South Korea) - The best fictional film of the day. And probably would hold up well even against a stronger day. A Korean man is having a very bad day/life. Jumps off a bridge intending to end it all. Instead ends up stranded on a small island that's on the Han river. As he struggles to remake his life through self sufficiency he's observed by a young woman who's a shut in, living with her parents but not setting foot outside for three years. Together they overcome their fears only loosely connected across a distance (or at least a body of water). The view from a distance reminds me of Gigante (a must see for VIFF 09) but it's a completely different film. Well shot, sweet, interesting and quirky - but in a good way.
The Young Victoria (Canada) - solid if uninspiring historical melodrama. At least as opposed to some recent films (yes, I'm looking at you Bright Star) I actually believed the connection between Victoria and her love (eventual husband)