Saturday, September 16, 2006

Movie Madness

Well the film festival has come and gone. The last insane 7 days I've been on a "there are 24 usable hours in every day" kick. I think if I were going to do the festival next year I would take the week off of work. Hard to know if that would actually be a financial possiblity ever, but really necissary to fully enjoy the event. And to avoid severe sleep deprivation.

I did however get three very cool experiences through volunteering.

The first was a panel discussion on war and conflict in documentary film-making. My favourite topic brought up and explored was how much the camera effects what's going on and whether people behave differently in front of the camera- and thus what responsibility does the documentarian have? So difficult to say. Violence is often amplified in the presence of cameras, but do the cameras also make governments more accountable to acts of violence (ie: showing the coffins of soldiers draped in American flags/prisoner abuse photos swayed public opinion about the war). Also the issue of the documentary serving a wider political purpose or simply telling a story from the war, and whether it is just simply important to have as many perspectives and stories as possible. I will limit this to a short blurb rather than a giant essay.

Then I took in two and a half movies.

The first I only saw about 20 minutes of, it was a Chinese film called The Banquet, and I will refrain from discussing it at any length, since I was unable to watch more than the first sequence of events or so.

The second was Princess, a Danish animated film with English subtitles. This was a fascinating, uncomfortable and beautifully animated piece. A child is rescued from a life of abuse and sexual slavery by her priest Uncle. The pieces of her childhood and her family history are unvieled through a series of events and the videos made by the Uncle (which are shown as live action videos seamlessly woven into the animation). The story is complex and at moments completely appalling and at others immensely touching. I really enjoyed the opportunity to see the movie, even if the ending pretty much sucked the spirit right out of me.

The third was the film I watched today called Glue. Completely brilliant. I don't even have words. An Argentenian film with English subtitles, the director and lead actor were there, as well as one of the film's producers (with whom I got to speak!). The story is about a boy growing up in Argentina. His friends, his family, his coming of age/sexuality. Sounds all very over done in the west, but man oh man. Full props to Hector Diaz as the young man, he is so likeable from start to finish, very believable, and shows a maturity with his acting that is remarkable for his age. I laughed, I was geniunely moved. I laughed a lot actually. Talking with the film's producer, they don't seem overly conifident that it will get picked up, which would be a grave injustice. It is so wonderful, and I really hope to be able to purchase it in Canada at some point.

All in all I was kind of glad I went to see smaller foreign films. I will likely get a chance to see D.O.A.P. later, as it will almost certainly get picked up, and by the sounds of it so will the Australlian MacBeth (had I seen these two by the by, I would have watched films from 5 different continents!)

Had a fun time in Toronto, and as a matter of fact I will be back there tomorrow... surprise Sudburians, I'll be seeing you soon! Really soon.

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