Friday, September 19, 2008

FANTASTIC FEST : DAY 1

I shouldn't already feel so wiped out, but I do. That will be remedied though. A long night's sleep and a day off of work with the knowledge that I will be in the theater all day can do wonders for a sleepy head and lazy bones.

The big kickoff film tonight was Zach and Miri Make A Porno, but since I don't care for Kevin Smith, and I don't care for porno (......), I decided to take the take the low-budget road tonight.

First was Late Bloomer, a barely there, digitally shot Japanese film about a mute, disabled man named Sumida that is so disfigured on the outside it makes it difficult for caretakers to tell how he is doing inside. [UPDATE: I passed out writing this last night, but now I am back!] Sumida uses a speak-n-spell to communicate words, but the tonal emotions are still mute. Is Sumida happy, content, on the edge of madness, a serial killer?

This makes for an interesting character study, but it's hard to discern if director Shiboto is using the actor's real life disability to create a complex character or not. I don't think the intention was to exploit... but then again, it's kind of hard to tell.

The film is shot with shakey hand held, and has disjointed schizo-editing sequences that match up with the Drill N' Bass music. Late Bloomer ends powerfully, and tragically, disgustingly beautifully, but was the movie as a whole a success? It's hard to tell yet...

The Danish How To Get Rid Of The Others was the most promising of the first day films. Indeed, it does think it's too cute at times, but it is gutsy enough to take on a premise that many American filmmakers would shy away from (except for, perhaps, Trey Parker).

Overly socialized Denmark has become a haven for a percentage of people that drain the welfare system and weigh down the safety nets so much that the government has decided to take action: EXECUTION!. You take disability only to load up on booze? DEAD. You head the arts commission and produce nothing of cultural substance? DEAD. You get pregnant by a person you can't remember the next morning? DEAD.

How To...'s politics are all over the place, or, at least it seems too. An American audience may not connect directly with the satire as would a European.

The final solution of a rebel faction to rip it all up and start again in Africa is though-provoking. Maybe the solution to Africa's pain is for successful westerners to immigrate there, instead of vice versa. Still, the final shot eerily made me think of the slave trade in reverse. A boat of white people sailing toward Africa. It's evokes Plymouth Rock all over again.

I won't beat around the bloody bush: Art of the Devil 3 sucks. I haven't seen AOTD or AOTD 2, but I have a feeling there isn't much variety between the three.

Simply, this Thai import is about black magic. Like a porno film, the first section is a half-ass acted set-up just to get to the what the audience paid for: money shots. And like a bad porno film (.....) staring your favorite actress (.....) Art of the Devil 3 left the audience of sickos with nary a blue ball. The disappointment in the long-haired, black-jeaned audience as the moped out was more than palpable.

I guess the one compliment I can give this film is that it walks a weird line between family drama and torture set piece. A bizarre mix for sure. Most bizarre is a sequence where a husband gets so excited about his wife's positive pregnancy test that he can't stop smelling it and from getting his family to smell it as well. Then twenty minutes later his pregnant wife's stomach explodes because a scorpion was forced down her fathers mouth by a witch. I don't know... I don't really care... today is a new day and I will have forgotten about Art of the Devil in about and hour when I see my first of four films for the day.


I expect more from today, and the entire weekend.... STAY TUNED... if I have a chance to post inbetween films, I will...........

5 comments:

Evan Derrick said...

Oh, I love it. Keep the reports coming!

Soiled Sinema said...

Yulp.

Art of the Devil 2 blew hard.
Same thing.
I'll review that sometime.

It did have an amazing poster though.

Fox said...

Weird thing about the titles in Art of the Devil. When the title came up in the movie it was in Thai with the number 2 behind it. Is this actually Art of the Devil 2 overseas but in America it's 3?

Fox said...

p.s. Soiled-

I saw Ex-Drummer today at the fest. I first heard about it via your site. Anyway, the screening pretty much made my head blow up. It's been about 6 hours since I saw it and I don't know what to make of it yet. I sat it the second row so the loud music and images wrapped around my head.

I will talk about it my next FF update, but I hope to have a proper review up of it once I figure my thoughts out.

Algernon said...

This won't really have success, I feel like this.
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