VIFF Reviews

With the Vancouver Film Festival having ended a little early for me (work is getting in the way), it’s time for wrap-up reviews:

4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days: Woah! This one will never get top billing at a pro-life convention. So intense we thought we’d barf at the part where the heroine is looking for a secluded dumpster – and not because of what she had in her purse. She’s been through enough tonight, don’t let anything else happen to her, please, please, please! Bleak enough for the descendant of a Holocaust victim to deem nearly as bleak as the Holocaust.

Persepolis: Faithful to the comic book both in script and look, delightfully black and white, see it before Disney buys it and f*cks it up. Also, does anyone dip their boobs into cold water for ten minutes a day? Does it work? And where in Vancouver can you buy fresh jasmine blossoms for your bra?

Dead Time (aka Kala): We loved it! Until the last five minutes! Oh, it was wonderful until then: super creepy, decrepit Jakarta exteriors with fantastic interiors, crawling ghosts in loincloths, film noir lighting, burned corpses and a Ring-like curse! Enough of the exclamation marks. A narcoleptic reporter finds himself divorced, jobless, a murder suspect, and a mob kidnappee, all in two days. Then he finds out he’s privy to a secret, which, if shared with others, will kill all but one of those who know the secret. We’ve decided that should we ever buy the DVD, we’ll show it to our friends until the end of the second kidnapping scene. A perfect ending right there – why’d they have to go and ruin it?

Iska’s Journey: Can we get any more depressing? The day after seeing this, I was standing in another VIFF line discussing it with a stranger. “She wasn’t even good-looking, what did those pimps want with her?” The moral turns out to be, it don’t matter whether you’re good-looking or not, human traffickers just see a piece of meat to sell. Two scenes in particular were beautiful: the orphan kids “swimming” and the raindrops on Iska’s face.

Island Etude: Ah, the scenery – Taiwan never lived up to its Formosa name as much as in this movie. When I lived there, we joked that Taiwan’s east coast was the place to down bottles of tequila and eat the worm as the sun rises. Turns out, according to a character in the movie, that on the north part of Taiwan, you can see the sunrise and the sunset. For anyone who cares, the male lead was hot. Oh, and I kinda hoped the graffiti guy was cute behind his mask, too.

La France: The only movie I saw with the director in attendance, the song pieces caught me off-guard. It also had an attempted rape scene, brining this year’s film festival rape count to five. What I got from the movie – I was battling a cold at the time and couldn’t really appreciate the film – is that if you eat mystery mushrooms you pick in the woods and then you collapse, put pond scum on the back of your hand and you’ll get better. What the hell was that?

Out of Time: Admittedly not for everyone, but hey, the loud-talking girls three seats in front of me can lick the corn kernels out of their asses. One day, you’ll be old, you dumb bags, and you’ll see that you’ll need the Clapper too. I liked Out of Time. On the surface, the often-depressing story of four long-established shops dying slowly in Vienna’s consumerism shows five very dedicated small business owners struggling as they try to keep their butcher shop, button shop, apothecary and leather repair shop afloat. It’s cringe-worthy to watch these poor people looking out at passersby wishing them to come into their stores; it’s even worse when the loveable drugstore owner looks through the shelves of Spanish leather and wonders if he should stop ordering that, or when he wonders why his clients aren’t picking up their orders (the customers are older than him). Ultimately optimistic (and a good lesson for those of squandering our youth on foolish decisions), the film’s message can’t help but strike a chord with environmentalism. Repairing coats and luggage for added years of use; using a basin of water to shave instead of letting the faucet run; the message only falters with the butcher’s admonishment to a young mother to feed her baby sausages as soon as possible so the kid wouldn’t end up a vegetarian.

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