By the end of my 4th film today my butt hurt. I walked out and started massaging my tailbone. I was actually afraid that I had sprained it from all of this sitting in tight spaces. I am noticing that I don't really fit in movie theaters very well. My legs are far too long to stay straight, they bump into the chair in front of me. For one film I am fine-I will sway my feet back and forth, cross one over the other and switch when one starts to fall asleep. I even do that move where I lean forward and watch about 20 minutes of the film with my elbows on my knees-I look like I am really into the film. But doing those moves four or five times a day starts to wear on the body and believe me, today I felt it. I might have to stretch before I get started tomorrow.
I got through 5 films today, making my total 21 films thus far. It is finally getting hard to remember what I had seen a few days ago so it is good that I am keeping track. I haven't even begun to assemble the "master" list of films and reviews from the other two people here from the festival screenings. I'll be sure to post that when I get home.
SILENT SOULS (Aleksei Fedorchenko) Russian: I went to see this film on a recommendation. I would have to agree that it was "good" but I should have asked for a little more information on why it was good. It looked good and flowed well, but it was a simple art-piece reminiscing about an old tribe in Russia. A man loses his wife and asks his friend to accompany him on a journey to give her a traditional burial, which includes burning and spreading the ashes into water. That's really all that happens with a few simple stories about the wife when she was alive. It was a nice film but for having a short running time it felt long, probably because there is something about a story that keeps the viewer entertained.
MONSTERS (Gareth Edwards) UK: This movie wants to be DISTRICT 9, but it falls short in so many ways and only comes close to its look-a-like that you ask yourself "why didn't I just watch DISTRICT 9?" Aliens have invaded the planet and the contamination zone is Northern Mexico. Our two characters must walk through the risky area to make it to the US and just so happens that the aliens are kept out by a giant wall. The illegal immigration agenda is so obvious but in case the audience did not catch on the male lead says something about how crazy it is to look at the US from the outside. The aliens are the best characters in the film and they and the entire production look amazing. I just have a problem with characters that state the obvious, over and over. For example, the female lead (who is engaged, but doesn't care for her husband) knows that they are traveling through an alien-infested area and when they run into these other creatures she actually asks questions like "what is that?" and "what are they doing here?"
THE PROMISE: THE MAKING OF DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN (Thom Zimmy) US: This documentary chronicles the making of the Boss' third record. You do not just have to like Springsteen to appreciate this film, in fact Bruce gives a lot of great insight into the obsessive, creative and dark places an artist must go to make a record. The film doesn't delve into anything too personal, just what was going on in the studio for the year that they were recording.
ROUTE IRISH (Ken Loach) UK: Ken Loach has proved again that he is a talented director. In his latest film he tackles the topical subject of the war in Iraq in this political thriller. Always one to glorify the middle-class, this is about two best friends who were contracted soldiers from the UK for Iraq. It begins with the funeral of one of the men, Frankie, who was killed in the line of duty but in a very suspicious way. His best friend Fergus then begins an investigation that leads to some interesting information and he takes it upon himself to find out who killed Frankie. Using the war as a backdrop, Loach seamlessly intertwines stock footage of wartime news clips with the film and creates a real feeling of chaos and despair. He also does not demonize the effects and terrible nature of war, with characters that are severely flawed and who realize that war is not humane so you cannot judge by normal standards. This was an intense, engaging and well made film.
BLAME (Michael Henry) Australia: Five prep school kids kidnap and plan to kill a piano teacher because they think that their friend committed suicide because of him. But then things go wrong. From the beginning of this film it is intense and very dramatic with suicide, murder and lies between friends. It it interesting how the students sway back and forth with their decision to kill the teacher or not. It is a dark first feature film from the director Henry and a film that is well acted and well executed but the end result is something sad and provides no catharsis being that teenagers have killed themselves and now teenagers want to kill.