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'Tito' is a strange and shaggy film, crossing horror with the weed comedy to interesting and provocative results.

Film

Final Girls Film Festival: ‘Tito’ Takes Trauma-Horror to A Higher Level

‘Tito’ is a strange and shaggy film, crossing horror with the weed comedy to interesting and provocative results.

A weed-horror film infused with chamber drama and elements of the buddy comedy, Tito is a strange and shaggy beast. A subtle depiction of how a combination of trauma, self-hatred, and medication can fill every waking moment with paranoia, Tito ambles between different genres much like its central character. 

With seemingly no connection to the former leader of Yugoslavija, Tito (Grace Glowicki) is a gaunt, hunched-over young man with unwashed black hair down to his shoulders. Suffering from what appears to be sexual trauma, he is fearful of his own reflection, perpetually afraid of something lurking around the corner. 

His fears are undefined, much like the opening moments of the film, creating tension through atonal, jumpy music and low-camera angles. The story snaps to attention with the sudden introduction of John (Benjamin Petrie), a friendly neighbour who breaks into Tito’s house and cooks him a full breakfast, resplendent with eggs, pancakes, fresh fruit and…weed. Lots and lots of weed. 

It takes a little while before John (a highly magnetic, overly-friendly intruder played with great intensity by Petrie) and Tito become, if not exactly friends, then comfortable enough with each other’s presence, smoking endless joints and hanging out in the park. And with that first hit of green, Tito noticeably lightens up, finally able to talk. 

Cannabis plays a central role here, influencing both the trippy style of the film and Tito’s inability to remain in control of his own situation, making Tito come across as a kind of PSA about the dangers of self-medicating. Elements of the cannabis comedy come into play, cleverly showing just how easily these moments can turn into horror. Likewise, John’s friendliness quickly turns into overbearance, displaying the paper-thin line between friend and foe.

Grace Glowicki, who also wrote and directed the film, plays across the gender line here; the artificiality of the character she has created is stressed by the amount of times John addresses him with words like “brother” and “man.” It’s an interesting queering of the victim experience that physically asks men to put themselves into women’s shoes, showing that sexual violence can happen to anyone, and asking for empathy across both sexes. 

Nevertheless, Tito functions more as a mood piece than a strictly feminist tome, its bizarre lurches of tone, thoughtful sound design, and highly physical performances inviting a variety of contradictory readings. It’s unusually fun for a film of this type too, refusing to be pigeonholed into the standard trauma-horror genre, and showing how life goes on — and gets weirder! — even if you have gone through unimaginable pain.  

Tito‘s fleet running time, covering only 70 minutes, works to its advantage, making it more of an extended short than a fully-fleshed out feature. While admittedly a bit lean in its topics, and lacking true psychological depth in favour of blissed-out atmospherics, Tito marks a promising feature debut from Glowicki, a strong proof-of-concept on the way to bigger things. 

Final Girls Berlin Film Festival runs from February 6 — Feb 3. See programme for more details.

Written By

As far back as he can remember, Redmond Bacon always wanted to be a film critic. To him, being a film critic was better than being President of the United States

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Robert Kehl

    September 11, 2020 at 2:21 am

    I fail to see how a woman portraying a male character is asking men to put themselves in women’s shoes (“It’s an interesting queering of the victim experience that physically asks men to put themselves into women’s shoes, showing that sexual violence can happen to anyone”). Your text ties victimhood to the identity of women and arbitrarily calls that “queering”. How does having the character played by a woman show that sexual violence can happen to anyone? If, and I only say if, if it says anything it plays to the belief you have that women are victims, as though it were taboo or unsympathetic to even show a man as a victim, thus requiring a relatable victim–a woman, to play the role. What this does (the film’s text and yours), is keep alive and support a painful stigmatization in our society, plaguing men, that women are the victims in sexual violence, therefore a man either cannot be a victim, or if he is, he is now feminized and has lost his manhood. Those are psychologically his choices: not-victim, or woman/emasculation.

    Men (and boys) are sexually victimized by men and by women. It isn’t an obscure anomaly or insignificant number. Unfortunately between no one really caring about men as victims, and our cultural investment in a ideological narrative that genders violence, placing men in the role of perpetrator, and unwritten rules restricting men from seeking help as victims because of the aforementioned gendering of violence (which isn’t a gendered phenomenon–for example nearly half of domestic violence is perpetrated by women against men, but society pretends that doesn’t happen and there are zero victim services for men, and when funding is requested, it is denied), male victims tend to be rendered invisible, denied, invalidated, and if they become visible, stigmatized and degraded.

    Reality is victims are victims, plain and simple. Victimhood is not owned by a single gender, orientation, ethnicity, social class. Anyone can be a victim. Mythologizing victimhood as having identity characteristics does harm to everyone, removing agency and power from the victim “class”, and invalidating victims who don’t fit the mythology, often leaving them without support.

    Maybe think more carefully before writing facile barely formed thoughts to try and capitalize on buzzwords and the ongoing pathological but hip and correct obsession with identity and gender.

  2. Redmond Bacon

    September 11, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    I agree a lot with your comment. I think I meant that because its cross-gender, it’s a fascinating experiment. I would never diminish the experiences of men: I think the film actually works quite well in making one think both in terms of men putting themselves in women’s shoes and vice-versa. Both men and women are affected by sexual violence, for sure, and by doing a cross-gender performance, I think ‘Tito’ *also* works in the opposite manner than I wrote: i.e. a woman could put themselves in a man’s shoes! My reading is one of many that comes out of this interesting and strange movie; which is by design quite ambiguous.

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