Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sept 6th in the evening

As the usual embargo rules don't apply, and I'm up here anyway....why not? Here are the first reviews from the festival:


Written and Directed
by Patrice Chéreau

The date is about 1910, and M. Hervey(Pascal Greggory) is the extremely wealthy publisher of a Paris newspaper. He lives in what looks like a museum, and is attended by endless numbers of maids. He’s a cold man, an arrogant man, and it seems the only thing that makes him happy are his vast amount of ancient sculpture, and those Thursday evening soirées that everybody who is anybody wants to get invited to and are presided over by him and his lovely wife Gabrielle(Isabelle Huppert).

One Wednesday, our protagonist, for we can’t call him a hero by any means, comes home early one day to find that his wife is not there, she had left him a letter explaining that she’s left him for someone else, and she won’t say who. Hervey, of course is devastated, which is strange, since he hasn’t had sex with her in years and the two had fallen out of love ages ago. He’s about to begin the period of mourning that sometimes follows occasions like this, when suddenly, Gabrielle comes back.

Joseph Conrad, who’s “Heart of Darkness” became “Apocalypse Now” wrote the original short story and it seems that Auteur Chéreau has decided to stick all the endless monologues therein in the film. One of the problems with subtitles sometimes is that all the film is so wordy that we can’t really follow them all that well. What we get is talk and talk and talk and talk, and occasionally to show a change in mood, the director decides to switch from black and white to color and back again. That starts out with some sort of purpose, but by the end of the film, it becomes annoying. Why did she leave? For whom? Why did she come back? Will she try again? It starts out interesting, but all the mysteries are solved rather soon except for why the damn thing is so long.

This film is everything that’s bad about current French cinema. It’s long pretentious and rather boring in parts. Ugh.


Written and Directed
by Jim McKay

Nicole(Rachel Griffiths) is a social worker laboring away over at the Bridge Youth Center in Brooklyn, NY. She’s rather good at her job and everyone there seems to like her. Then one day she seems to make a mistake. One of her charges, a high school senior named Angel (Jonan Everett), has been kicked out of the house by his father, we’re not exactly sure why.

Angel has no where to go, Nicole she decides to take a chance and have him as a houseguest. At first, it seems to be going rather well. Her husband doesn’t seem to mind all that much, and the next day, he goes to school and they go to work. There’s a meeting with the father and it doesn’t actually seem to be going well. Something’s not right here, for Angel seems like a good intelligent kid. Or is he a bad intelligent kid.

The rest of the film is going back and forth between Nicole’s life and Angel’s during the day, an aimless wondering somewhat reminiscent of James Joyce “Ulysses” but without the sex or humor. Angel skips out, hangs out with friends, tries to murder someone, the usual stuff for a kid in an HBO movie-of-the-week. Nicole commiserates with her sister about life and what seems to be her failures at it.

The whole thing is rather pointless. We don’t care all that much about the two main characters, and Angel becomes even less sympathetic as the film goes on. Fortunately, the next time it’ll be seen is on cable, and then you can change the channel.


Written and Directed
by Wisit Sasanatieng

Somewhere in the World the genre known as magical realism is still in vogue. That somewhere is Thailand, where Wisit Sasanatieng, a filmmaker of some local note, has come to show his latest creation. A bizarre romance about love, politics and the redevelopment of the human tail, or something like that there.

We first met Pod(Mahasamut Boonyaruk) out in the boonies where his ancestors live. He yearns for something more, but his grandmother puts a curse on him. Should he go to Bangkok and find a job, he would grow a tail. But Pod goes anyway, and the curse doesn’t work. He does, however lose a finger in the sardine factory (no blood is spilt) and by the time the film is fifteen minutes old, he’s found it in a can in a store. Only it’s not really his, it belongs to Yod(Sawaswong Palkawong Na Ayutthaya), and the two become fast friends, them sharing body parts and all.

But as our narrator (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang) goes on about the nature of life, we discover that this film isn’t about Yod at all, but the beauteous
Jin (Saengthong Gate-Uthong), who’s working as a maid in the building where Pod is now working. Pod is smitten, and we learn that that Jin has an unreadable book, and that she has conversations with comic book characters. But so what? Everyone in this film is, as they used to say, pixilated.

While Pod’s attempt to get Jin to fall in love with him goes on and on, the narrative flow is interrupted by a whole bunch of random stories that seem to come out of nowhere. Each more silly than the next, and Bangkok becomes a dystopian fairyland with drunken teddy bears and piles of plastic going all the way to the moon.

But don’t dispair,there are giggles galore to be found. See it…that is if it ever gets here.

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