breakfast this morning at the Hi-Life to benefit the fallen firefighters fund. nice. decided not to try doing the run to and from the Egyptian.
first up, Inju, the Beast in the Shadow
. buzz i've heard on this film was only overheard, and...odd. i'm guessing that this may be ultra-violent, but i'm not sure. it's a mystery!
it was a mystery, where i guessed the secret pretty much right away and stayed to watch the rest of the film to find out just how stupid the protagonist really was. so painful. the French director was seeking to create an homage to American noir films in an adaptation of a 1920s Japanese novel. it went just as well as one might expect :/ i watched the whole thing so that i could hear the director talk about it afterwards. part of the fail for me was in the adaptation - the original story was about the rivalry of two Japanese crime writers, the adaptation made one of them French, which stretched the premise to the breaking point and introduced the unfortunate element of the white-dude-and-submissive-asian-girl. (down to her kneeling in front of him and licking his feet and sucking his toes
.) if only the homage to noir had actually extended to the cinematography - shining clinically bright light on toe-sucking and cat corpses made them just silly. the brightest moment of the film for me was seeing a character in prison, finally seeing some part of Japanese culture that didn't feel like Epcot Center.
the post-film discussion was good. i could tell that people were asking about things that they didn't like (say, the overbearing score) but doing it in a way the opened dialogue with the director. someone asked about the low level of eroticism in this "erotic thriller" and the director explained that currently all big film financing in France comes from television, so you need to make a movie that is suitable to be shown at 8:00 (oh, how i love that the French consider bondage and beheadings suitable for the kids). i felt like the geisha dancing in the film was not graceful enough, that the actress who was supposed to be a great dancer had no sense of jo ha kyu
...yet it turns out that she was trained by a woman who trains the dancers in Gion. (now i feel like i need to see more of the geisha dances to see if my prior impression of what they should be is wrong.) the sword choreography was great, and the director's pride was justified. i hope the sword fight gets on youtube. there apparently was a deal of unhappiness in Japan about that "other geisha movie" and people wouldn't get on board with this film until they had vetted the script, etc. anyway, look for that sword fight on youtube, don't bother with the rest of the movie.
i tried to sell my dinner companions on Black
, but it sounded like a rental to them. we shall see. i'm rooting for silly fun.
silly fun! it was a well-crafted caper movie mostly set in Dakar, Senegal. to an American viewer, it felt a bit transgressive, playing with African stereotypes - alternately puncturing them and reinforcing them. i enjoyed it quite a bit, but i think that if it hadn't been a late replacement it would have been in a midnight slot here and well-received by that crowd. it has a strange thing going on with one of the villains literally turning into a snake man that is just messed up. but i loved the gunplay, the explosions, the beautiful leads, and the setting.
skipped the next film to be assured of going home happy.
currently sitting at a table on top of Fisher Pavilion with a model Filipino village behind me. this weekend is Pagdiriwang
and the village is celebrating the centennial of the AYP. i got to see the Filipino youth drill team perform, and have some Espi's chicken, so i'm pleased.
this morning started with meeting mimerki
for breakfast after she finished the Race for the Cure. (YAY!) C is coming down with a cold, M just ran a race, and i have nothing to talk about but movies no one else at the table has seen or probably cares to see. this one time, at movie camp...
first picture of Sunday, Finding Bliss
. repressed aspiring director gets hired as an editor at an adult film studio. and she starts using the studio facilities at night to make her pet project. romantic comedy ensues. it had a solid cast and some good moments, but overall it didn't quite work for me. much was made clear in the post-film discussion with the writer/director - she's been paid for this project something like four times, and has lived on it for five years. first, it was going to be a workplace comedy series for Showtime. then they asked for it to be a movie, and it had to be reworked into a three-act structure that, you know, ends. so, it was supposed to be a commercial film and then got done as an independent one out of desperation. i think it might have been better if it had focused on the lead learning about being a pro through working with unusual material and skipped the skunkworks production plot that was tacked on as part of the shift from series to film.Humpday
was well done. still processing. i was marveling at the quality of Lynn Shelton's writing, but actually she directs improv and forms the film in the editing room. i hated one of the main characters starting pretty early on, and that made the rest of the film less appealing, in spite of everything that was right about it. and it's about wierd straight guy relationship stuff that becomes more important than the wife relationship, and the wife is pretty awesome, so that annoyed me too. it's not you Humpday
, it's me. Four Chapters
left me mostly confused. the subtitling was more like opera supertitles - enough to follow the gist of the story but not enough to get all of the nuance. i was in a row of people who understood the language, because early on they were laughing in response to beats that weren't translated. between that and my apparent lack of key cultural knowledge, i really didn't get it. i still enjoyed the pretty people and the music.Forever Enthralled
is up next. this is one that i've been waiting for all festival. trying not to spoil it with high expectations.
this is a sweeping historical about the life of Mei Lanfang
with great (to my untrained eye) theatre footage. at 2.5 hours it ended up being a little short for the timespan it covered, leaving some things too unexplored for my taste, but i thought that the time skips were mostly handled well. highly recommended for theatre nerds and those interested in the culture of Republican China leading into WWII.