Serving as director, writer, producer and lead actor, Grace Glowicki’s oddball character study Tito is an endearingly original venture into unlikely friendships.
How titular character Tito came to be is nothing short of a mystery. Appearing like a gangling, stooped giant with long black hair , you could easily be forgiven for thinking he is feral, or has at least been lost somewhere for a very long time. But he has an apartment, and a bright red whistle strapped round his neck. He can talk, although clearly chooses not to. The opening scenes see Tito bumble through suburban streets, absolutely terrified. Glowicki in her gender-bending role plays Tito like a cowering dog at times, her head retracting into the bed of her neck as each sound Tito hears frightens him.
These sounds are amplified through a really interesting score from Casey MQ, guttural and animalistic, Tito lives with a fear of something attacking him. This explains the whistle, the siren red device being blown to cut through Tito’s feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
One person not out to attack Tito is John (Ben Petrie), who appears in Tito’s flat making a whopping breakfast for the pair to enjoy. Obviously taken aback by John’s intrusion, Tito is slow to come around to John’s over-familiarity but is eventually put at ease as the pair enjoy a joint together. From this moment onwards, the direction of Glowicki’s film is unsure. John is initially presented as a bit of an overbearing weirdo and Tito is obviously frightened of everything, but as the pair get more familiar and get high more often, the story becomes less about discovering what trauma has made Tito the way he is, and more about two strange guys just shooting the shit.
Its a fine line between comedy and a blossoming horror, never completely sure where its going to end up. And the truth is, is that it never really ends up anywhere. Running at 70 minutes, Tito is a feature that might have benefited from either being scaled right back to 30 minutes for a wonderful story of an unlikely friendship cemented over waffles, or extended to 100 minutes to actually come to a fathomable conclusion. However, Glowicki feels so original in her weirdness and so confident in this personal deep-dive into this very physical character study that its quite hard not to get swept up in Tito’s world. Something in the mannerisms, daring soundscape and off-the-wall energy of Glowicki and Petrie’s pairing is completely charming and its ultimately encouraging just to see such weird women-made projects get made.
Tito screened at Final Girls Berlin Film Festival on February 9th
by Chloe Leeson
Chloe Leeson (she/her) is the founder of SQ. She hails from the north of England (the proper north that people think is actually Scotland but isn’t). Her life source is Harmony Korine’s 90s Letterman interviews and Ezra Miller’s jawline. She is a costume designer for hire who spends far too much time watching bad horror movies. Her favourite films are Into The Wild, Lords of Dogtown, Stand by Me and Pan’s Labyrinth. She rants about cinema screenings @kawaiigoff and logs them on letterboxd here.