So it’s established now that I’m no good at this power-blogging thing.
Here is my last bunch of films from MIFF- I definitely ran out of steam towards the end, lots got knocked off my schedule (I had booked 2 films each night of the last week), and I was starting to feel sweaty and unkempt from too many choc tops, too much wine, and too much huffing and puffing on screenmachine!!! Feeling somewhat back to normal. So here are my final thoughts:
The Myth of the American Sleepover
Excruitiatingly cute teen film which captures realistically the utter awkwardness of youth. Human grubs trying to fit into their new exoskeletons. It is true that it toes a similar line to Dazed & Confused- self-consciously critiqueing the teen-film genre, whilst also contributing to it. (See also: Freaks and Geeks). Characters were less glam, and more endearing tahn D & C though. N0t quite as slick and nostalgic as F & G. I love them all.
Innerspace (Joe Dante retrospective)
This was worth it to see Joe Dante introduce- who was charming and down to earth with some good Hollywood anecdotes- and to see Dennis Quaid in his prime. Otherwise, it was a bit of a waste of time. Nice art direction, but apart from that unremarkable except to see how much Zoe enjoyed it, and also how annoying Meg Ryan is and always was.
A Film Unfinished
I was under the impression this was going to be an analysis of a heretofore unseen Nazi propaganda film shot in the Warsaw ghetto during the second world war. Instead, it was a dire immersion in the horror of the holocaust, with commentary by survivors, clearly upset at the images they were being confronted with: dead bodies lying on the street, skeletal victims of famine, homeless, hollow eyed and desperate. The analysis of the Nazi propaganda system was virtually non-existent and this was a missed opportunity IMO. Everyone knows it was awful- if we have not seen these specific images, we have seen plenty like them, from that time and other more recent massacres and genocides. They could have picked apart why the Nazis chose to never show this film (which I assume was because it demonstrated too clearly and vividly what they were doing to the Jews), but instead the film makers took a defensive stance, responding to the assertion of the propaganda itself, that rich Jews were supposedly living it up while their fellow ghetto dwellers were dying on the street, and making the elderly survivors explain why they might have done that??!!! I found the whole thing weird.
The Red Chapel
My review on Screen Machine is here: http://www.screenmachine.tv/2010/08/05/miff-10-trash-humpers-certified-copy-the-red-chapel/
My sister reviewed it well here, summing up my own thoughts:
Interestingly, I’m nearly a hundred percent sure I previewed this film (maybe last year?) but didn’t recommend it!
An absolute cracker. Hilarious, emotional, raw and real- with beautiful art direction, strong story and performances. It’s not the most thought-provoking or revolutionary film I’ve seen this MIFF, but it’s the most fun, most funny, and most moving by far. An all-round winner, I hope it takes over the whole world. Was the best to see it in a room full of Kiwis laughing at the in jokes. God love them. I secretly suspect New Zealanders might be a little bit better than us.
Last, but not least…
Uncle Boonmee who can remember his past lives.
Did not understand this film from start to finish. It was very long, very slow, but ultimately completely compelling. It sat in each shot for much longer than was comfortable, and nothing was shot in Close Up. Because of this, as audience, I felt more like I do when taking in a large scale tableau or tapestry- where your eye can roam around the whole screen, rather than be directed to focal points by the cuts. Interesting approach, forced you to be patient, to sit back, a bit more alert and on edge, rather than being swept along. Apart from that, there were many references I didn’t understand, but enjoyed the mystery of. The effects were low-fi, but effective (!) for it- simple, but graphic and elegant. Cinematography was stunning, but again, not explicit or boastful. A real highlight, and one I would revisit and love to pick apart a bit more.
MIFF The End.