Bad things can happen to good women, especially in the movies. For me, the most intriguing films at TIFF this year feature women in trouble. Yes, men may be a lot harder to take down on-screen than women — requiring explosives, monsters and extremely fit assassins — but, in reality, girls are more resilient than guys. They often have more ideas and gumption, and can make do with less. Here are four films showing at TIFF that demonstrate how women reveal their powers when pushed into a corner.
Rumored to be the scariest movie to grace the archipelago since “Ringu,” this can best be described as the the definitive Japanese apartment nightmare, which is saying a lot. Based on a novel by Fuyumi Ono, “The Inerasable” has a stellar cast, including Yuko Takeuchi and Ai Hashimoto. What starts out as a fairly conventional horror story (things go bump in the night, apartment rentees are troubled by visions of a kimono sash snaking its way across the floor, etc.) takes an unexpected turn in the latter half: The film becomes an indictment of Japan’s race to industrialize in the early 20th century and its mistreatment of workers. As with classic Japanese horror tales, “The Inerasable” focuses on place and memory, reminding us that grudges and tragedy can go right into the soil, leaving it forever tainted. It’s up to the two female protagonists to unearth all the bad history and have a face-off with the spirits.