ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
word cloud of my siff 2008 posts, via Wordle. pretty, and an interesting analysis tool.

ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
word cloud of my siff 2008 posts, via Wordle. pretty, and an interesting analysis tool.

ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
day 23
morning film with [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina, evening film/symphony with C.

Island of Lost Souls
so far, i haven't met a Danish film i didn't like. this is a big effects fantasy film about three kids and a misfit adult working to stop a necromancer in modern Denmark. it's smart, hip, and funny. the effects are excellent and the story is good enough. i especially liked the teen girl heroine, with the BtVS and "I Want To Believe" posters on her wall. (we can just stop it with the evil scarecrows now. the clowns and carved angels do not need any help. gah.) bonus points for making fun of secret organizations and great sound design.
i was very glad to see this at the Cinerama.

i had a lovely long lunch and chat with [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina after, then i was home to change and head downtown to Benaroya Hall with C.

Alexander Nevsky
first time viewing this 1938 film, and what a way to go! the film was projected above the full Seattle Symphony and Symphony Chorus, and the musicians did a synchronized performance of the score. the film was really interesting: a sound film still showing the methods and manners of a silent. (we found it notable that the enemy was covered in crosses and featured conniving clerics, while the Russians only made the smallest reference to their Christianity. part and parcel of getting approval from the Soviets, i expect.) Nevsky is an obvious influence aurally and visually on films from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to the Star Trek franchise and more. now i'm wanting to watch it and compare with a Hollywood blockbuster from '38, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and a modern war-hero costume epic by a Russian director, Mongol.

day 24
Secret Festival #4
my favorite Secret this year. sick. violent. darkly funny.

Towelhead
Jasira gets sent from her white mom's house to her Lebanese dad's house in Houston. adult men like Jasira a bit too much. she's thirteen and beautiful, and the first Gulf War is breaking out as she discovers her sexuality. her parents are self-absorbed, and so she navigates a sea of hazards mostly on her own. it leavens heavy issues with a deal of humor. (the trailer is a pretty good taste of the film.) recommended, but it does include child abuse.

and then i came home to unwind before *gulp* i return to work tomorrow.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
day 23
morning film with [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina, evening film/symphony with C.

Island of Lost Souls
so far, i haven't met a Danish film i didn't like. this is a big effects fantasy film about three kids and a misfit adult working to stop a necromancer in modern Denmark. it's smart, hip, and funny. the effects are excellent and the story is good enough. i especially liked the teen girl heroine, with the BtVS and "I Want To Believe" posters on her wall. (we can just stop it with the evil scarecrows now. the clowns and carved angels do not need any help. gah.) bonus points for making fun of secret organizations and great sound design.
i was very glad to see this at the Cinerama.

i had a lovely long lunch and chat with [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina after, then i was home to change and head downtown to Benaroya Hall with C.

Alexander Nevsky
first time viewing this 1938 film, and what a way to go! the film was projected above the full Seattle Symphony and Symphony Chorus, and the musicians did a synchronized performance of the score. the film was really interesting: a sound film still showing the methods and manners of a silent. (we found it notable that the enemy was covered in crosses and featured conniving clerics, while the Russians only made the smallest reference to their Christianity. part and parcel of getting approval from the Soviets, i expect.) Nevsky is an obvious influence aurally and visually on films from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to the Star Trek franchise and more. now i'm wanting to watch it and compare with a Hollywood blockbuster from '38, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and a modern war-hero costume epic by a Russian director, Mongol.

day 24
Secret Festival #4
my favorite Secret this year. sick. violent. darkly funny.

Towelhead
Jasira gets sent from her white mom's house to her Lebanese dad's house in Houston. adult men like Jasira a bit too much. she's thirteen and beautiful, and the first Gulf War is breaking out as she discovers her sexuality. her parents are self-absorbed, and so she navigates a sea of hazards mostly on her own. it leavens heavy issues with a deal of humor. (the trailer is a pretty good taste of the film.) recommended, but it does include child abuse.

and then i came home to unwind before *gulp* i return to work tomorrow.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
day 20
Trouble the Water
Hurricane Katrina doc. screening was a zoo, totally full due to the subject matter and i assume the producer appearance of Danny Glover. (i headed for the next venue before he arrived.)
meh. a grand failure. they had this great eyewitness video and the people in it to follow - a clever sassy woman and her husband from the lower ninth ward - and then they wallowed around. the damn thing felt meandering and eternal when it could have been brutal and short. this would be a great rental so that you could see the footage of the rising water and ferrying people out with a punching bag while fast-forwarding through our heroine rapping forever (and not, alas, her better piece that ran over the credits). could be a brilliant film with a real editor.

Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame
wasn't originally on my list, but the passholder buzz on this was very positive...
this film was not for me. the Buddha referenced is one of the ones destroyed by the Taliban, and our tiny heroine (five or so) lives in one of the caves nearby and decides one day she would like to learn to read like the neighbor boy. so then she needs a notebook and a pen, and she has to find the school. of course, getting money and shopping and walking places for a very little girl is epic.
there's an elaborate metaphor here about the treatment of women in Afghanistan, but i was distracted the minute she left her tinier sibling (who she is supposed to be watching while mum carries water) alone in the house. nasty boys play Taliban incessantly and destroy clothing/property that should have brought an angry parent out to break them up, etc etc. (i refuse to believe that Afghani culture is so different that parents don't notice kids digging a giant hole in the road or a son covered head to toe in mud when there's no naturally occurring mud in the environment.) because of the elaborate metaphor thing, i found the behavior of the adults in the film more and more improbable and frustrating until i just left and got C to come get me.

(a later conversation with someone who saw the end revealed that while i thought the baby was a gun on the wall, the film seems to forget that the baby exists. if i had stayed, there probably would have been shouting.)

day 21
Frozen River
awesome. filmed entirely in upstate NY. two women get into smuggling (from Canada to the US through the Mohawk reservation that straddles the border) in order to finance their ordinary dreams. will they get caught? how long will they keep going? will the river ice hold the car? is someone going to get hurt?
perfect depiction of being working poor in the northeast, totally tense and suspenseful. (it wasn't quite my family, but it was more than one of my friends'.) this will be released in August.

Leroy
awesome in a different way. lovely absurd German teen comedy about an African-German boy who falls for a white girl with five skinhead brothers. Leroy is a biracial kid with an afro, a cello, and a bust of Goethe. his girlfriend's family's attitude forces him to start thinking and talking about race with his parents and the people around him. great coming of age story, made more interesting by the cultural remove - and it still manages to keep the laughs coming. good discussion with the director afterward ("we chose irony for the ending because there really is no answer"). the screening attendance was sparse and i hope more people get to see it when it shows again Saturday afternoon.

day 22
all Cinerama, all the time
The Unknown Woman
afterward, i went to Ralph's for soup and chocolate. if i had been thinking i might have hit a bar for a quick scotch.
the film was excellent, but brutal. i stayed tense for a good hour afterward.
a Ukranian immigrant in Italy seeks a certain job in a certain building, and she'll do anything to make it happen. she has her reasons. what exactly is she trying to do? how far will she go? why?
this has an excellent Ennio Morricone soundtrack and chilling cuts between past and present. the past is all PTSD for our heroine. there's a great deal of violence against women. it's not used gratuitously, and only to forward the story, but oh oh oh gods...still recommended if you can take it.

Triangle
my third Johnnie To film. i call it a glorious mess, but it's a mess, with three directors tag teaming and five or six writers. when it works it really works - a story about three guys who are trying to pull off a caper to pay off their debts, and of course it all goes improbably wrong. it's not as good as Mad Detective or Sparrow, but is delightfully (and often confusingly) twisty. a rental.

Female Agents
hey, it's another French WWII film with nazis. but this one has Sophie Marceau as a sniper. i have some issues with the script, but there are several tense scenes and a lot of women kicking ass (rigging bombs, running resistance safehouses, etc etc). as far as i can tell the characters and events are all composites, which takes things into the Braveheart/Gladiator made up history continuum, but the film does its intended job of bringing the work of female SOE agents to light in popular culture. cool for what it is.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
day 20
Trouble the Water
Hurricane Katrina doc. screening was a zoo, totally full due to the subject matter and i assume the producer appearance of Danny Glover. (i headed for the next venue before he arrived.)
meh. a grand failure. they had this great eyewitness video and the people in it to follow - a clever sassy woman and her husband from the lower ninth ward - and then they wallowed around. the damn thing felt meandering and eternal when it could have been brutal and short. this would be a great rental so that you could see the footage of the rising water and ferrying people out with a punching bag while fast-forwarding through our heroine rapping forever (and not, alas, her better piece that ran over the credits). could be a brilliant film with a real editor.

Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame
wasn't originally on my list, but the passholder buzz on this was very positive...
this film was not for me. the Buddha referenced is one of the ones destroyed by the Taliban, and our tiny heroine (five or so) lives in one of the caves nearby and decides one day she would like to learn to read like the neighbor boy. so then she needs a notebook and a pen, and she has to find the school. of course, getting money and shopping and walking places for a very little girl is epic.
there's an elaborate metaphor here about the treatment of women in Afghanistan, but i was distracted the minute she left her tinier sibling (who she is supposed to be watching while mum carries water) alone in the house. nasty boys play Taliban incessantly and destroy clothing/property that should have brought an angry parent out to break them up, etc etc. (i refuse to believe that Afghani culture is so different that parents don't notice kids digging a giant hole in the road or a son covered head to toe in mud when there's no naturally occurring mud in the environment.) because of the elaborate metaphor thing, i found the behavior of the adults in the film more and more improbable and frustrating until i just left and got C to come get me.

(a later conversation with someone who saw the end revealed that while i thought the baby was a gun on the wall, the film seems to forget that the baby exists. if i had stayed, there probably would have been shouting.)

day 21
Frozen River
awesome. filmed entirely in upstate NY. two women get into smuggling (from Canada to the US through the Mohawk reservation that straddles the border) in order to finance their ordinary dreams. will they get caught? how long will they keep going? will the river ice hold the car? is someone going to get hurt?
perfect depiction of being working poor in the northeast, totally tense and suspenseful. (it wasn't quite my family, but it was more than one of my friends'.) this will be released in August.

Leroy
awesome in a different way. lovely absurd German teen comedy about an African-German boy who falls for a white girl with five skinhead brothers. Leroy is a biracial kid with an afro, a cello, and a bust of Goethe. his girlfriend's family's attitude forces him to start thinking and talking about race with his parents and the people around him. great coming of age story, made more interesting by the cultural remove - and it still manages to keep the laughs coming. good discussion with the director afterward ("we chose irony for the ending because there really is no answer"). the screening attendance was sparse and i hope more people get to see it when it shows again Saturday afternoon.

day 22
all Cinerama, all the time
The Unknown Woman
afterward, i went to Ralph's for soup and chocolate. if i had been thinking i might have hit a bar for a quick scotch.
the film was excellent, but brutal. i stayed tense for a good hour afterward.
a Ukranian immigrant in Italy seeks a certain job in a certain building, and she'll do anything to make it happen. she has her reasons. what exactly is she trying to do? how far will she go? why?
this has an excellent Ennio Morricone soundtrack and chilling cuts between past and present. the past is all PTSD for our heroine. there's a great deal of violence against women. it's not used gratuitously, and only to forward the story, but oh oh oh gods...still recommended if you can take it.

Triangle
my third Johnnie To film. i call it a glorious mess, but it's a mess, with three directors tag teaming and five or six writers. when it works it really works - a story about three guys who are trying to pull off a caper to pay off their debts, and of course it all goes improbably wrong. it's not as good as Mad Detective or Sparrow, but is delightfully (and often confusingly) twisty. a rental.

Female Agents
hey, it's another French WWII film with nazis. but this one has Sophie Marceau as a sniper. i have some issues with the script, but there are several tense scenes and a lot of women kicking ass (rigging bombs, running resistance safehouses, etc etc). as far as i can tell the characters and events are all composites, which takes things into the Braveheart/Gladiator made up history continuum, but the film does its intended job of bringing the work of female SOE agents to light in popular culture. cool for what it is.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
Leroy was awesome. very sweet and funny coming of age story about a biracial African-German teen. deals with heavy stuff pretty well without losing the comic thread. shows again Saturday afternoon. i don't know if it will really be back any time soon.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
Leroy was awesome. very sweet and funny coming of age story about a biracial African-German teen. deals with heavy stuff pretty well without losing the comic thread. shows again Saturday afternoon. i don't know if it will really be back any time soon.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
slow start. slept in, time slid away, had a lovely dinner with C. he's adorable when he's asleep, but i treasure seeing him when he's awake.

Theater of War
this is a documentary about Bertolt Brecht and war, framed by the 2006 Public Theater production of Mother Courage and Her Children. i loved it, but i suspect that there's not so much for anyone who hasn't studied the play. (i'm also interested in adapter Tony Kushner, and used to run auditions across from the Public, and hey the propmaster is reading and responding to a rehearsal report, and so again i have no idea how it would play to someone who isn't a theatre nerd.) great production values, fun interviews, great work with the photos and audio recordings of Brecht's first production in 1948 in E Berlin - when most of the city was still in ruins. (did i mention that Kevin Kline played the cook in 2006? he is so damn good, and no one is going to really notice until he's dead.) if you're not excited to hear stories from Brecht's assistant director (squee!) it may not be for you.

Stranded: I've Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains
the buzz was very good on this one, but i was skeptical. surely, the story of the the Andes crash had been done to death?
no. the documentary features every one of the survivors, telling their stories to the camera and to their children on a trip to the crash site. the combination of archival footage and lo-fi reenactments that accompany the survivors' voices is excellent. the film is moving, suspenseful, and ultimately hopeful. it was worth making, and well worth seeing. i recommend this to anyone who is into survival stories.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
slow start. slept in, time slid away, had a lovely dinner with C. he's adorable when he's asleep, but i treasure seeing him when he's awake.

Theater of War
this is a documentary about Bertolt Brecht and war, framed by the 2006 Public Theater production of Mother Courage and Her Children. i loved it, but i suspect that there's not so much for anyone who hasn't studied the play. (i'm also interested in adapter Tony Kushner, and used to run auditions across from the Public, and hey the propmaster is reading and responding to a rehearsal report, and so again i have no idea how it would play to someone who isn't a theatre nerd.) great production values, fun interviews, great work with the photos and audio recordings of Brecht's first production in 1948 in E Berlin - when most of the city was still in ruins. (did i mention that Kevin Kline played the cook in 2006? he is so damn good, and no one is going to really notice until he's dead.) if you're not excited to hear stories from Brecht's assistant director (squee!) it may not be for you.

Stranded: I've Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains
the buzz was very good on this one, but i was skeptical. surely, the story of the the Andes crash had been done to death?
no. the documentary features every one of the survivors, telling their stories to the camera and to their children on a trip to the crash site. the combination of archival footage and lo-fi reenactments that accompany the survivors' voices is excellent. the film is moving, suspenseful, and ultimately hopeful. it was worth making, and well worth seeing. i recommend this to anyone who is into survival stories.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
still wide awake. not a good sign for day 19...

Pierre Rissient: Man of Cinema
who is Pierre Rissient? trust me, you don't care. i watched the whole thing to confirm that this documentary is nearly content-free.

i followed this with a late brunch of stuffed french toast and bacon at Peso's, washed down with giant cups of coffee. it was delicious, and i got the bacon for free since it was the last of the day.

i tried to stop at Bliss before the next film, but Phil and Chuck are out of town until the 14th. fine soap fans take note.

Sweet Thing
i went because i had no preference for the slot but wanted to watch the next film at the venue. it was not raining inside the Harvard Exit, and it was a pleasant temperature (unlike the unseasonably wet and windy outdoors) so i watched the whole thing. unsympathetic characters with no motivation for their actions do nothing in and around Seattle. the director introduced the film and said he'd been working on it for five years. i rushed out before the Q&A in order to resist the temptation to tell him what i thought.

i called Mom and wished her happy birthday between films. it's 95 and humid in PA.

Tulia Texas
excellent documentary about a 1999 drug enforcement operation in a town in the Texas panhandle. funny thing, nearly all the accused dealers were black. and they were all supposedly selling powder cocaine in a small town with a depressed economy. you get the picture.
since it's a matter of public record: eventually justice prevails, and a few of the white folks there are not racist assholes. (but i still want to cleanse the place with fire.)
the storytelling is excellent, and the film raises many questions about "the war on drugs," enforcement funding, and undercover cops. this is going to be on PBS on Independent Lens sometime this year. definitely worth watching. (just take something for your blood pressure first.)
(it was paired with a well-made depressing dramatic short set in post-Katrina Louisiana. whitey ruined everything.)

a happy accident: a film was delayed in shipping and so there was a magic third showing of Bliss instead.

Bliss
this came highly recommended, (thanks Steve and other random Fools!) and was wonderful. i'm so glad i saw it. it's a Turkish film about honor killing, and modern versus traditional society, and sailing (real and metaphorical). great performances, excellently tense plotting, beautiful scenery. one of the best of the festival, the sort of film that i feel in my gut for an hour afterward.

most days i enjoy spending the festival alone in a crowd, just me and the films. this was one where i wished i was sharing an armrest.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
still wide awake. not a good sign for day 19...

Pierre Rissient: Man of Cinema
who is Pierre Rissient? trust me, you don't care. i watched the whole thing to confirm that this documentary is nearly content-free.

i followed this with a late brunch of stuffed french toast and bacon at Peso's, washed down with giant cups of coffee. it was delicious, and i got the bacon for free since it was the last of the day.

i tried to stop at Bliss before the next film, but Phil and Chuck are out of town until the 14th. fine soap fans take note.

Sweet Thing
i went because i had no preference for the slot but wanted to watch the next film at the venue. it was not raining inside the Harvard Exit, and it was a pleasant temperature (unlike the unseasonably wet and windy outdoors) so i watched the whole thing. unsympathetic characters with no motivation for their actions do nothing in and around Seattle. the director introduced the film and said he'd been working on it for five years. i rushed out before the Q&A in order to resist the temptation to tell him what i thought.

i called Mom and wished her happy birthday between films. it's 95 and humid in PA.

Tulia Texas
excellent documentary about a 1999 drug enforcement operation in a town in the Texas panhandle. funny thing, nearly all the accused dealers were black. and they were all supposedly selling powder cocaine in a small town with a depressed economy. you get the picture.
since it's a matter of public record: eventually justice prevails, and a few of the white folks there are not racist assholes. (but i still want to cleanse the place with fire.)
the storytelling is excellent, and the film raises many questions about "the war on drugs," enforcement funding, and undercover cops. this is going to be on PBS on Independent Lens sometime this year. definitely worth watching. (just take something for your blood pressure first.)
(it was paired with a well-made depressing dramatic short set in post-Katrina Louisiana. whitey ruined everything.)

a happy accident: a film was delayed in shipping and so there was a magic third showing of Bliss instead.

Bliss
this came highly recommended, (thanks Steve and other random Fools!) and was wonderful. i'm so glad i saw it. it's a Turkish film about honor killing, and modern versus traditional society, and sailing (real and metaphorical). great performances, excellently tense plotting, beautiful scenery. one of the best of the festival, the sort of film that i feel in my gut for an hour afterward.

most days i enjoy spending the festival alone in a crowd, just me and the films. this was one where i wished i was sharing an armrest.

siff day 14

Jun. 6th, 2008 11:44 am
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
i just made it to the last press preview of the day.
Visioneers
glad i got an aisle seat. this looked like a Kafkaesque workplace comedy (where remaining minutes of productivity are announced regularly and offscreen there is an epidemic of people exploding from unhappiness) but after the first fifteen minutes we left the office and it went off the rails. i gave it about 45 minutes and walked. congratulations, first of 2008!
i got some coffee, chocolate bars, and sudafed before the next film. time well spent.

A Secret
between Elderhostel and French students, the place was packed. (for some reason, at the Uptown i end up hearing other passholders bitch loudly. this time it was indignation at all the seats set aside for the students and how early they let them in. i thought the house management was very smooth and the kids (very well-behaved) were off on the sides, not in what i consider prime real estate. sometimes i want to apologize to the ticket holders and the house staff. we're not all jerks, i swear.) the French cultural attaché from the consulate in San Francisco was there to introduce the film and welcomed the students in French. i was pleased to understand it all.

i liked the film. it's about a boy learning what happened to his parents during WWII, told in flashbacks. it was gently paced (and what was up with the dog in the present?), but i appreciated the build of tension between the leads, done with glances and tiny touches. yet another imaginary friend, and more Mathieu Almaric.

Brick Lane
a Bangladeshi woman moves to London through an arranged marriage, pines for a glowing memory of home, and eventually realizes that she belongs in London. i have to assume there was something lost in the transition from novel to film. i felt like motivations were muddled and there was a lot more telling than showing. my issues with the film are mostly spoilers, and are probably issues with the novel. it looks pretty.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil
i was dreading this one a little: it's a real life version of This is Spinal Tap. it could be brilliant, or it could be hideously cruel. hooray, it's brilliant. Anvil is a real Canadian heavy metal band who were rising stars in the early 80s and somehow never quite made it. (included in talking head praise for the band's early work are Lars Ulrich, Slash, and Scott Ian.) they're still playing. yes, often we laugh at them. but ultimately i had to love them for their indomitable spirit, and this is a great story of all the artists who toil on at the edges against all odds. it's excellent, and it plays again tonight. YouTube of Anvil performing Metal On Metal in 1983

siff day 14

Jun. 6th, 2008 11:44 am
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
i just made it to the last press preview of the day.
Visioneers
glad i got an aisle seat. this looked like a Kafkaesque workplace comedy (where remaining minutes of productivity are announced regularly and offscreen there is an epidemic of people exploding from unhappiness) but after the first fifteen minutes we left the office and it went off the rails. i gave it about 45 minutes and walked. congratulations, first of 2008!
i got some coffee, chocolate bars, and sudafed before the next film. time well spent.

A Secret
between Elderhostel and French students, the place was packed. (for some reason, at the Uptown i end up hearing other passholders bitch loudly. this time it was indignation at all the seats set aside for the students and how early they let them in. i thought the house management was very smooth and the kids (very well-behaved) were off on the sides, not in what i consider prime real estate. sometimes i want to apologize to the ticket holders and the house staff. we're not all jerks, i swear.) the French cultural attaché from the consulate in San Francisco was there to introduce the film and welcomed the students in French. i was pleased to understand it all.

i liked the film. it's about a boy learning what happened to his parents during WWII, told in flashbacks. it was gently paced (and what was up with the dog in the present?), but i appreciated the build of tension between the leads, done with glances and tiny touches. yet another imaginary friend, and more Mathieu Almaric.

Brick Lane
a Bangladeshi woman moves to London through an arranged marriage, pines for a glowing memory of home, and eventually realizes that she belongs in London. i have to assume there was something lost in the transition from novel to film. i felt like motivations were muddled and there was a lot more telling than showing. my issues with the film are mostly spoilers, and are probably issues with the novel. it looks pretty.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil
i was dreading this one a little: it's a real life version of This is Spinal Tap. it could be brilliant, or it could be hideously cruel. hooray, it's brilliant. Anvil is a real Canadian heavy metal band who were rising stars in the early 80s and somehow never quite made it. (included in talking head praise for the band's early work are Lars Ulrich, Slash, and Scott Ian.) they're still playing. yes, often we laugh at them. but ultimately i had to love them for their indomitable spirit, and this is a great story of all the artists who toil on at the edges against all odds. it's excellent, and it plays again tonight. YouTube of Anvil performing Metal On Metal in 1983

siff day 13

Jun. 5th, 2008 09:00 am
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
a brief day, since there was nothing super-exciting in the evening and i have a cursed headcold. the evening was for rest, snuggling, and a calzone from Palermo's.

Stalags
i didn't know there was a short with this one until they handed me two ballots.
the short is an art film by Roee Rosen who created Justine Frank, an imaginary Jewish lesbian surrealist painter. he made "her" paintings, and dresses in drag as a scholar comparing Frank's work to the Rosen's actual installation "Live and Die as Eva Braun". meh.

the feature had cruddy production values, but was fascinating. "Stalags" were a genre of popular soft porn novels in Israel around 1960. the conceit was that they were the true stories of British or American POWs that had been translated into Hebrew. (actually, they were written by the "translators".) the standard plot was that these POWs were raped and abused by bodacious female SS officers, and eventually gained the upper hand to rape and abuse their tormentors before they escaped. these little paperbacks were bestsellers.
according to the film, up until the Eichmann trial was televised nationally, the Holocaust was a taboo subject in Israel. survivors were regarded with suspicion - surely they must have been collaborators or prostituted themselves to survive when others did not. and earlier Zionists thought that everyone should have moved to Palestine before the war like they did.
after Eichmann's execution, the Stalag fad abated and some of the books were destroyed. the film wanders around, touching on whether or not Jewish girls were used as prostitutes during the war, and modern Israeli fetishists who travel to have rough sex with German women. ultimately, the film can't decide if it's about the places where sex and the Holocaust meet in the Israeli consciousness, or about how Stalags led into the moment when Israelis looked more carefully at the Holocaust and stopped blaming the survivors.

siff day 13

Jun. 5th, 2008 09:00 am
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
a brief day, since there was nothing super-exciting in the evening and i have a cursed headcold. the evening was for rest, snuggling, and a calzone from Palermo's.

Stalags
i didn't know there was a short with this one until they handed me two ballots.
the short is an art film by Roee Rosen who created Justine Frank, an imaginary Jewish lesbian surrealist painter. he made "her" paintings, and dresses in drag as a scholar comparing Frank's work to the Rosen's actual installation "Live and Die as Eva Braun". meh.

the feature had cruddy production values, but was fascinating. "Stalags" were a genre of popular soft porn novels in Israel around 1960. the conceit was that they were the true stories of British or American POWs that had been translated into Hebrew. (actually, they were written by the "translators".) the standard plot was that these POWs were raped and abused by bodacious female SS officers, and eventually gained the upper hand to rape and abuse their tormentors before they escaped. these little paperbacks were bestsellers.
according to the film, up until the Eichmann trial was televised nationally, the Holocaust was a taboo subject in Israel. survivors were regarded with suspicion - surely they must have been collaborators or prostituted themselves to survive when others did not. and earlier Zionists thought that everyone should have moved to Palestine before the war like they did.
after Eichmann's execution, the Stalag fad abated and some of the books were destroyed. the film wanders around, touching on whether or not Jewish girls were used as prostitutes during the war, and modern Israeli fetishists who travel to have rough sex with German women. ultimately, the film can't decide if it's about the places where sex and the Holocaust meet in the Israeli consciousness, or about how Stalags led into the moment when Israelis looked more carefully at the Holocaust and stopped blaming the survivors.
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
day 11
skipped previews in favor of rest. got extra sleep, had a bath, packed my dinner.

The Mad Detective
an interesting Hong Kong crime drama/great detective story where the detective is psychic, psychotic, or both. good times. others have noticed a suicide theme at siff this year, i seem to be getting the imaginary friend films.

Call Me Troy
a documentary about Troy Perry, the founder of Metropolitan Community Church. he's an interesting character, and the film is a sweet tribute. i enjoyed it, but i left feeling like i was watching a reel that was put together for an awards dinner. the meaty bits of the story (like what happened with his kids from his failed marriage, or the arrival and departure of the partner pictured beside him in many protest marches, or the conflicts with the church board over his political activism) are glossed over in favor of more "yay Troy!". but there's a lot of reason to say "yay Troy!" and i'm glad someone has gotten these stories down from the people that were there before they get too old to tell them.

i skipped the Q&A to catch a bus down to Pacific Place. so of course the bus was late enough that i could have stayed. had a nice chat with two older ladies. one of them is in low income housing in Pioneer Square and is excited about the expensive condos going into the area - crime is going down. she showed off a picture of her granddaughter and both ladies talked about how much they like Obama. i dashed up the escalators and ended up in the second row, just before the credits started to roll.

Sparrow
my second Johnnie To film of the day, this time a caper film about four pickpockets and a girl who is trouble. even though it's set in the present, the whole thing has a sophisticated fifties feel, with an irresistible bouncy jazzy score by Xavier Jamaux and Fred Avril. it's a charmer, complete with a pickpocketing showdown at the end. i'm looking forward to showing this one to C.

day 12
curtailed movie viewing because of John Waters in the evening.

Chrysalis
a French near future science fiction cop movie. the machine of the title can read and write memories on the human brain. (for those squeamish about eye stuff (like i am) they don't do anything worse than hold lids open very briefly.) the world is very cool. it's very high-style, with all of the environments in black/white/gray. the color is digitally desaturated, which creates a consistent sterile feel, but also makes blood look like motor oil. (was that guy in a fight, or did he just finish swapping out engines?) i liked it, but i felt like there were a few scenes left on the cutting room floor.

Letting Go of God
(this wasn't on my list of things to see, but i was at SIFF Cinema already and had time to kill.)
Julia Sweeney did a bunch of research and determined that she's an atheist. she's happy about it.
the film is a very good recording of her live one woman show of the same name. she's a funny and talented woman, and the script is thoughtful. unfortunately, i think hearing about someone else's conversion experience is as entertaining as hearing about their D&D character. this thing is thirty minutes of content stretched to an eternal two hours and ten minutes of film.

after this i ran home, changed clothes, and met up with C to have dinner and attend An Evening With John Waters.
Waters was raunchy, funny, delightful. favorite quote of the evening: "Jazz is the sound of heroin."
ironymaiden: (siff 2k7)
day 11
skipped previews in favor of rest. got extra sleep, had a bath, packed my dinner.

The Mad Detective
an interesting Hong Kong crime drama/great detective story where the detective is psychic, psychotic, or both. good times. others have noticed a suicide theme at siff this year, i seem to be getting the imaginary friend films.

Call Me Troy
a documentary about Troy Perry, the founder of Metropolitan Community Church. he's an interesting character, and the film is a sweet tribute. i enjoyed it, but i left feeling like i was watching a reel that was put together for an awards dinner. the meaty bits of the story (like what happened with his kids from his failed marriage, or the arrival and departure of the partner pictured beside him in many protest marches, or the conflicts with the church board over his political activism) are glossed over in favor of more "yay Troy!". but there's a lot of reason to say "yay Troy!" and i'm glad someone has gotten these stories down from the people that were there before they get too old to tell them.

i skipped the Q&A to catch a bus down to Pacific Place. so of course the bus was late enough that i could have stayed. had a nice chat with two older ladies. one of them is in low income housing in Pioneer Square and is excited about the expensive condos going into the area - crime is going down. she showed off a picture of her granddaughter and both ladies talked about how much they like Obama. i dashed up the escalators and ended up in the second row, just before the credits started to roll.

Sparrow
my second Johnnie To film of the day, this time a caper film about four pickpockets and a girl who is trouble. even though it's set in the present, the whole thing has a sophisticated fifties feel, with an irresistible bouncy jazzy score by Xavier Jamaux and Fred Avril. it's a charmer, complete with a pickpocketing showdown at the end. i'm looking forward to showing this one to C.

day 12
curtailed movie viewing because of John Waters in the evening.

Chrysalis
a French near future science fiction cop movie. the machine of the title can read and write memories on the human brain. (for those squeamish about eye stuff (like i am) they don't do anything worse than hold lids open very briefly.) the world is very cool. it's very high-style, with all of the environments in black/white/gray. the color is digitally desaturated, which creates a consistent sterile feel, but also makes blood look like motor oil. (was that guy in a fight, or did he just finish swapping out engines?) i liked it, but i felt like there were a few scenes left on the cutting room floor.

Letting Go of God
(this wasn't on my list of things to see, but i was at SIFF Cinema already and had time to kill.)
Julia Sweeney did a bunch of research and determined that she's an atheist. she's happy about it.
the film is a very good recording of her live one woman show of the same name. she's a funny and talented woman, and the script is thoughtful. unfortunately, i think hearing about someone else's conversion experience is as entertaining as hearing about their D&D character. this thing is thirty minutes of content stretched to an eternal two hours and ten minutes of film.

after this i ran home, changed clothes, and met up with C to have dinner and attend An Evening With John Waters.
Waters was raunchy, funny, delightful. favorite quote of the evening: "Jazz is the sound of heroin."

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