‘Gabrielle’ and ‘Ilo Ilo’: exploring the films of the 37th Portland International Film Festival

Directed by Louise Archambault

Directed by Louise Archambault, the Canadian film Gabrielle was the first to be shown at the press screening for the 37th Portland International Film Festival and was absolutely glorious.

The story follows 22-year-old Gabrielle, a woman with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes developmental delays along with heightened social personalities and an aptitude for music. She sings in a choir for disabled adults at the Center, where she meets and falls head-over-heels in love with Martin. Their relationship, however, is brought abruptly to a halt due to Martin’s overbearing mother, who believes that the two are not adequately fit to be in a romance, and by Gabrielle’s sister, who is planning to move abroad with her fiance.

Gabrielle is a genuine and heartwarming film about a deep and complex woman struggling for the freedom to live an independent life. All she wants is to live like everyone else, to experience love and pain and to provide for herself the way she knows she can.

This year’s Canadian submission for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Gabrielle is a must-see movie that will make your heart melt and will bring tears to your eyes.

Ilo Ilo
Directed by Anthony Chen

Ilo Ilo is a Singaporean drama directed by Anthony Chen. It follows the dismal yet amusing relationship between 10-year-old Jiale and his caretaker, Teresa, in late ’90s Singapore. The film is set during the Asian financial crisis of ’97 and centers on Teresa’s arrival from the Philippines in search of a more prosperous life.

As the film progresses,  we get to witness a hilarious and loving connection between child and nanny grow between Jiale and Teresa. We see his trust in her that ensues as her role expands within the family, as well as the hidden problems that slowly come to surface between Jiale’s parents that constantly threaten their marriage.

Ilo Ilo is a raw, moving, bittersweet film that will make tears rush down your face from the power this cast possesses. This year’s Singaporean submission for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Ilo Ilo is an incredibly sinking and yet uplifting movie that will leave you silently staring at the screen in awe.

For more information about the Portland International Film Festival, visit: http://festivals.nwfilm.org/piff37/