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Review: What It Was, at the Inside Out 24th Annual Toronto LGBT Film Festival

June 6th, 2014     by RJ Vandrish     Comments

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What It Was Director: Daniel Armando Inside Out 24th Annual Toronto LGBT Film Festival

Is this the real life, or is this just memory? Director Daniel Armando’s film, What It Was, tells the story of a Latina actress, Adina, who returns to New York after some heavy life events. Adina, plagued by the rupture of her marriage with her husband and the death of her sister, exists outside of chronology. Her memories are interwoven with her present and the viewer experiences this just as her character does. Sometimes the memories are obvious moments from her past; sometimes they are not so obvious. As Adina drifts through a fog of memory and emotion, so does the audience. This is one of the strengths of Armando’s film.

Underneath the layer of Adina’s waking dream, the protagonist tumbles through a succession of complex encounters with a butch body artist, an ex-girlfriend and a gay male college student. It is fitting that a film with so much fluidity between past and present also features an interesting play on the fluidity of sexuality through the main character’s encounters.

While the film was slow to start, dragging its heels to the beginning of the plot, What It Was is overall a masterfully conceived piece, conveying the complexities of time, memory and sexuality. The end result is that, as you leave the theatre and go about your day, your present mingles with recollections of the film and you, once again, drift through the fog of memory and emotion.

What It Was was screened Thursday May 27, 2014 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2 for the Toronto LGBT Film Festival.

Tags: film fridays, film reel

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