Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Brooklyn International Film festival day one

So with Staten Island out of the way [too much rain!], we head to the Brooklyn Museum, where for the ninth year in a row they've got a film festival. This year, they're actually going to have a bunch of stuff which is actually going to get distributed. The first selection was followed by a party where they served Red Bull and beer.

The Former didn't work, as I went fast asleep as soon as I got home and it wasn't even that late, however it was raining cats and dogs, so to speak...same thing with the entire weekend so far. Here are a a couple of the films...[okay I saw one at Sundance...you've probably forgotten, so I'm putting it up again]

Sangue - La Morte non Esiste

Written and directed
by Libero De Rienzo

Yuri(Elio Germano) and Stella(Emanuela Barilozzi) are half siblings. The former came into the world as the product of rape and is a symbol of original sin. He’s needy and a bit of a moron, but Stella loves him anyway even though she refuses to tell him. She’s headed to New York to study ballet and he’s headed nowhere, but in the meantime, there’s a rave to attend…

The film is set in three acts. The first is all about Stella, who has errands to do and people to see. At first she seems pretty normal, or at least sane. She loves practical jokes, and plays at least one on Yuri. We don’t know where exactly this film is going. Are the two going to break taboos and screw? Will they go to their uncle’s wedding? Do we really care? All we know is that Yuri is an incompetent drug dealer and is paranoid. I’m not sure we feel for him, as he’s such a baby, and we are rather happy that Stella’s getting out of there.

Then they get to the rave, which is a complete waste of time. Yuri breaks down, proclaims he’s gay, and preens, while Stella gets some advice from a hindu guru(Libero De Rienzo) and doesn’t actually get it. It’s kind of a metaphor for the whole film. There’s another chapter, which is about Yuri trying to figure life out in the early morning hours while he and she detoxify themselves. This is actually the boring part. Apparently auteur De Rienzo is bored too, because he sends in the Nazi storm troopers to break everything up. Stella and Yuri escape only to discover that there’s a guy named
Bruno(Luca Lionello) sleeping in the back seat.

I guess it’s the boredom and pointlessness of the first two thirds of the film that inspired De Rienzo the car chase. This is a movie, you have to have a car chase right? Especially with guns blazing. Then there’s the final chapter, entitled “Comic Finale,” which basically changes the film entirely, from a philosophical exercise in cinematic navel gazing to slapstick comedy. This is actually rather funny, but seem a bit tacked on. It doesn’t fit even though it’s the best part of the film. What a waste.

The question is whether or not there’s any entertainment factor here. Until the last section, there really isn’t any, but one can see how Europe has decided to tackle the decline of it’s culture in the first decade of the 21st century. Feh!

Factotum

Written and Directed
by Bent Hamer

Hank Chinaski (Matt Dillon) fancies himself a writer. That he may be, but for the most part he’s a bum. Going from low-paying job to low-paying job, while he and his girlfriend Jan (Lili Taylor) screw and drink. This cannot last, and they part. Then our hero takes up with Laura (Marisa Tomei), who’s being kept by Pierre (Didier Flamand), who runs a home for wayward floozies.

Welcome to the world of Charles Bukowski, the greatest slacker of the 20th century.

Exactly, why should we care about this loser? Because Hamer has used the exquisite prose of Bukowski to the maximum advantage, making Hank and his useless friends somewhat interesting. Also, we have bravura performances by Dillon and Taylor, which are Oscar quality, but probably won’t get much kudos because the characters and the story are quite pathetic, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Watching this film is sort of like watching a train wreck, it’s horrible, but you can’t take your eyes off of it. Which means that it’s probably worth the bucks for a bargain matinee. This is one of the best bad movies of the entire year.

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