Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Festival Roundup

Cheap Gossip Studio at Berlinale; photo by Val Phoenix
Films recently viewed at festivals:

Le Lit Froise
dir Myriam Donasis

French short in which two friends spend an evening drinking and giggling, their bonhomie unexpectedly turning to lust. The bulk of the film concerns the awkward morning after, with frosty silences, awkward chatter and a complete denial of what has happened to change their relationship replacing the earlier drunken exuberance. The unstated emotion is palpable.

dir Chris Spinelli

Very odd experimental short recounting life of lesbian decorator Elsie de Wolfe whose life's work was to "make everything around me beautiful." But rather than a conventional documentary, writer/director Chris Spinelli makes use of strange staged scenarios, voiceovers and addresses to camera to convey de Wolfe's world view. Rather arte and odd.


Ci Qing (Spider Lilies)
dir Zero Chou

Beautifully shot feature film about tattoos, family relationships and trauma set in Taiwan and featuring a lesbian relationship at its heart. The heroine, who is a flirty teenager with a webcam set up in her bedroom, has lost her parents and wants people to remember her. I was a bit bemused by the lack of depth of this character as she seems to be very superficial. By comparison, the woman she pursues, a tattooist called Takeko, is very grave and more nuanced. She even offers a bit of tattoo philosophy: "Male wants power. Female wants love." This was the Teddy award winner.

Generation K Plus Kurzfilm

Blod Sostre
dir Louise ND Friedberg

Here's an oddity from Denmark: a love triangle of seven-year-old girls, as chubby Sidsel finds a rival for the affections of her neighbour and tries to rid herself of her rival. Poor Sidsel--she just wants to be loved but goes about it the wrong way and finds herself humiliated in a very disturbing sado-masochistic scene featuring birthday cake. All in all, a pretty adult film. Hence it was very startling to see it programmed in the kids section.

Tommy the Kid
dir Stuart Clegg

Aussie boy seeks revenge for the theft of his bike in this very funny faux western.

dir Mike Jonathan

Dad makes his daughter a boat for show and tell. Mostly English but no translation of Maori, unfortunately.

More, Strycku, Proc Je Slane?
dir Jan Balej

Delightful Czech animation explaining why the sea is salty and offering a warning against greed and betrayal.

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