Day 3: September 6
'Tis not often that a film gets a standing ovation at the
festival. Despite the fact that this accolade has been watered down some by
over use (say, like with the "seventh inning stretch" in Baseball...), it's
nice when it's genuine. Tonight's MM film, a ridiculous, kinetic Thai martial
arts film received this honour. If the goal of MM is to keep you awake and
entertained, than this is a prefect film for this venue, and I can't think of
one in the history of the fest that can be considered better.
other hand, it's always distressing to go into a film with actors you like and
respect, only to see them doing utter shite work. You ask yourself all the
usual questions - is it just for the money? No, this is a little independent
flick... Is it for prestige/oscar recognition? Nah, not that kind of movie...
All these people must have seen something at the script stage that made
them say "yeah, I'll work for scale!"
It's painful when it all goes
wrong, and there's usually no easy reason to see why.
Just like jet lag,
the third day's when it really hits you - I never want this to end, but the
brain's already turning to mush. My Algernonian decent into madness and
retardation is continuing apace. Wish me luck....
The Fog of War
Even handed, but never to a fault, this critical and at
times even touching examination of Robert McNamara's life and role in the Cold
War is as brilliant as I hoped it would be. Morris' much lauded technique of
having his subjects look you in the eye when they talk to the camera continues
to be very effective, as you can, head on, see the flickers of doubt and
remorse in the eyes of McNamara. A stunning achievement, important both as
historical testimony and a contribution to the documentary
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and
Directed by: Kim Ki-Duk
When I was at the
Isle screening years ago, watching onscreen as some fishhooks were
pulled from genetalia, I certainly had no idea that I was seeing a film from a
director whose films would be mandatory viewing at each subsequent fest.
Sublime and scary, the strange part is that the themes are quite similar to his
more recent, more kinetic/grotesque films, while suddenly becoming accessible
to a wider audience. This is a foreign film with all the positives that that
word can convey, something entirely different from what our Western film
experience has led us to expect. Truly remarkable, this is the most accessible
of his films, to be sure, but there remains an edge that makes it all the more
remarkable when the film settles in to be simply quiet and beautiful.
Game Over: Kasparov and the
Directed by: Vikram Jayanti
Chess, computers and
intrigue. A fun doc to watch, never gets bogged down in technicalities, playing
as some strange mix of noir thriller and boxing flick. Quite simply the
Raging Bull of chess documentaries.
Directed by: Wayne
"I think I love you.... no, wait... I'm pretty sure I
If my reviews can help you at all this fest, avoid this film. It
will eat your soul and vomit black bile in your face.
Directed by: Hector
Carandiru could have been a great prison drama, but
it mixed its genres so thoroughly in an attempt to make it entertaining and
accessible that I felt it lost its bite. For me, the built-in dread of the
internationally-known final riot wasn't enough to sustain the mood. Stylish and
well shot, neither intense enough to be creepy or funny enough to be satiric.
Any episode of Oz blows it away.
On-Bak Muay: Thai
Directed by: Pracha Pinkaew
Thai-style fighting with sequences that will make you shout at the screen. One
of the highlights of this or any MM. It doesn't get better than
Thai martial arts seems to be all elbows and knees. None of that
chop-socky, hands aflay karate -chop madness, this flick is all about jumping
up in the air, pounding elbows onto of a bad guy's head, as the vertebrae crush
and the spine is severed. Brutal, yes, but simply awesome as a genre
flick. The audience was in extasy.