Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crystal Palace International Film Festival

Venturing south of the river for an evening's cinematic viewing, I found myself in quite a nifty venue in The Triangle (as the locals deem it), Crystal Palace's entertainment hub.

The evening's offering was student film, with six films and a Q&A on offer. They were, indeed, international, with South Korea, USA, Sweden, New Zealand and the UK represented. Violence was the dominant theme, with five out of the six fixated on acts or threats of violence. Students, eh?

By far the standout film was the Swedish entry, Annalyn (dir Maria Eriksson), the only one more interested in the minutae of human relationships than violent action (and the only one directed by a woman!). Eriksson's bittersweet but highly comic film runs 30 minutes and was by far the longest film on show, but absolutely flew by, as Agnes came to terms with her crumbling relationship and stumblingly tried to get to grips with her feelings for the new woman in her life--her father's new wife. Comedy of embarrassment didn't cover it. My companions were especially impressed with the dialogue, which covered a lot (in three languages) in quite short order.

Of the other films, the two US offerings were pretty good, as well, with excellent cinematography. The Painter (dir Nate Townsend) presented a middle-aged man reflecting on a turning point in his life at a remove of 35 years and offered a poignant twist that stayed with the audience. Awwww was my reaction.

Never Gonna Break (dir Thomas Backer) also had a twist, but the climax went a bit melodramatic for my taste--screaming and guns played a role.

The final film, Ugly Night (dir Won Kang) from South Korea, we all agreed, was well-shot (or even, eh, executed), but proved to be a blood-drenched, pointless exercise. Its director will no doubt go on to be a millionaire.

Crystal Palace International Film Festival continues through 9 November.

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