TIFF 2016 Movie Review: HUNTING FLIES (Norway 2016) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

HUNTING FLIES (Norway 2016) ***
Directed by Izer Aliu

Starring: Burhan Amiti

Review by Gilbert Seah

Not the typical Norwegian film, HUNTING FLIES is totally set in a village in Macedonia. Izer Aliu’s first film takes a look at a way ethnic differences could be solved, though it is a sought of simplified look. As the film begins, the ostensible hero, veteran teacher Ghani, is pleading with his school’s new principal to keep him on staff.

A recent change in government means that the new group in power will likely fire the school’s old administration and bring in their own people, regardless of their experience, as sinecures for the ethic group that got them elected. This ethnic rivalry is keenly felt by the students in Ghani’s class, who are constantly at one another’s throats.

While Ghani struggles to create common ground between the two factions, the newly appointed teachers are more than happy to stay outside the classroom, smoking, gossiping, and smacking kids upside the head when they get unruly.

Ghani decides to keep the children after school, way into the night to make sure they come to peace with each other. Aliu is a first time director and it shows.

His ambitious film is rough in parts and the logic does not really rub off to the audience. But he does elicit fantastic performances from the cast of 10 children of non-professional actors. Watching the children is the highlight of the film.

According to the director, when the auditioning for the 10 children in the village, 11 showed up and it was a difficult decision to decide which one would not get the part.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv7QfRBxGzo

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