So there we go, 54 movies. Probably my favorite SIFF ever. The Uptown is a terrific venue, and we saw about 90% of our movies there. There is a long list of movies I wish I’d seen. The last movie was 3 days ago, and I am still recovering.
We saw three collections of shorts, which I am counting as 3 movies. Most of them were great, vey much worth seeing. Alas, I was the least impressed with the Best of the Shorts collection SIFF put together.
I always wonder, what are shorts for? Other than at Acadamy Award time we never think about them. They do not get shown in commercial theaters. And why not? I know not. Its too bad.
The writer/director/star of the movie is beautiful, and a main theme of the movie is: I am such a babe. The other theme is: even a babe like me has problems. The stupid title of the movie is pretty much a non sequitur, and I strongly suspect it was the product of a youthful vow to make a movie with that name.
I do not think this story can be spoiled at this point. England was a complete bummer in this movie. It is one of those movies that uses viscous film stock, shots with a lot of closeups and sparse story telling to create atmospheric and poetic, aka vague and unpleasant, stroytelling. We left early.
The Mirror Never Lies
Indonesia. Highly recommended..
Set among subsistence fishers who live in houses built on poles in the water on shallow reefs. Indonesia is made out of 17,000 plus islands. Some amazing and beautiful underwater photography. Mostly non-professional actors who actually live in this place. These people live in the water. Little tiny kids running about on 2×8 planks with no rails no sun screen and no helmet, and jumping into boats with no life preservers, and I doubt that they are properly hydrated. So, pretty depraved, but for all of that it looks very cool.
Time warp type sci-fi movie. The movie does a decent job of telling the story of a guy having to deal with his shit whether he likes it or not in order to solve the central problem of the movie. So in order to deal with the future, he has to deal with the past. Clever premise, that is never really articulated and in that light it has a perfect ending. But its just an OK movie overall, and also suffers from including a particular cheat that time warp movies sometimes use (Terminator, just for one) that was not at all necessary.
Argentina. Worth seeing
Set among what look to me like middle-middle class Europeans and their servants. On several levels it resembles my image of Southern California, only no one is that rich. The message I got from this is that it sucks to be indigenous and poor in Argentina, and indeed the titular Beauty does not appear to be enjoying herself much, mainly because she is treated like a family member it is OK to be crappy to. The story is driven by the preparations for the Quinceañera of the daughter of the household. So everyone is stressed out, displaying their real disposition. The movie is much better than the above probably suggests.
First off, there is a guy in this movie who looks, sounds and acts, but especially looks, uncannily like my nephew, Steve. I never got used to it. So, O’Briens will have a different experience of this movie.
The MacGuffin of this movie is whether it’s a real documentary or a fiction movie. No position is taken at any point by the film maker. Three manly young white guys (like Steve!) Go on an adventure, despite their girlfriends misgivings, with highly dramatic results. Interviews with the principles, and with expert types is interspersed with the documentary footage, much of it filmed in South Africa. Every one is totally likable (Steve, again) and the story is well told. And the question of whether it is real or not gives it good flavor.
Sweden. Must see.
Beautiful movie, in every sense. Marion’s favorite movie so far. Very high production values. The storytelling is deep and satisfying and there is not a false note to be found. Set during WWII and its aftermath in Sweden. In return for a certain amount of kowtowing to the Germans – in the form of ball bearings, rail lines and such – Sweden wasn’t invaded and their Jews were mostly not murdered. So the people in the movie got through the war as well as anyone in Europe. Of course, no one living in Europe got through the war all that well. The older I get the more cannibalistic it seems to me. How people could have destroyed themselves and their culture so thoroughly is harder and harder to comprehend. There is a lot of high culture in the form of classical music, and university life in the movie. I really do not know if it was the film makers intent is to contrast this with the satanic forces abroad in the world, but that’s what I got from it.
Switzerland. Highly recommended
This is one of those times I was glad not to know a thing about the movie going in. Marion picked that day. From the title and a glance at the poster, I thought it was going to be one of those great movies about, like, yak herders in Mongolia. (Actually. I’ve seen some pretty good Mongolian movies that feature yaks, but not this year.) Anyway, it turns out to be a documentary is set in modern day Switzerland and documents some shepherds doing what they call a “transhumance” which good old Wikipedia says is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In this case it’s a couple of great looking people who really are real shepherds. They take a flock of 800 sheep around the Swiss countryside to fatten them up on fallow fields. For 4 months during winter, for real. They have great clothes. They have cool dogs. For most of the time, at least when there are no cars around, there is something eternal about this, it has to be something people have been doing for several thousand years, and there are not a lot of new ways to herd sheep. Its in Switzerland, but everyone speaks French. By the way, bell-wether is a sheep herding term. They put a bell on a wether, which is a castrated ram, and teach the to lead the flock, and also can find the flock in the dark or in fog. And the ram gets to live.