Here's a quick list with comments of what I've watched so far. I won't bother with official descriptions; you can click on the link for those.Bamako
- This is a compelling film from Mali that challenges the concept and effects of globalization and puts on trial the World Bank and the IMF. I was a bit confused as to whether this was a mock trial, a what-if fiction, or a real tribunal. Apparently they were real lawyers, judges and witnesses speaking out, with passion and detailed evidence regarding Africa's subjugation. Then suddenly there was a strange Western film-within-a-film... Overall though this Danny Glover-produced film was compelling and well worthwhile.Kinshasa Palace
- A very personal narrative, almost a video diary that the filmmaker uses to explore the disappearance of his brother Max, which blurs the boundaries between fiction and memory. His search takes him from Paris to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), to Lisbon and to Cambodia. But more interesting is his family history and the documentary elements about the colonization of Congo. His family is part Portugese, part Congolese and now living in Kinshasa, Lisbon, Paris and in Belgium. An informative and intriguing film but ultimately unsatisfying from a plotting perspective, which is a pitfall for not-fiction but not-fact filmmaking I suppose.Palimpsest
- A Polish cop murder mystery, which is the sort of thing I usually dig (police dramas, Law & Order, Oz, etc). The title reflects the structure and plotting of the movie, but the ending was almost "and it was all a dream..." Not quite that, but as frustrating. If you're not David Lynch, don't try to be David Lynch!Ten Canoes
- An Australian Aborigine myth retold in the classic storytelling tradition. Beautiful cinematography and a simple story. The subtitles weren't working, which I didn't know until the next day; I thought the fact that we didn't know what the Aboriginal characters were saying was a stylistic decision, and I rather like that. I relied on body language and facial expression and the narrator's voice-over, which I felt was sufficient. I couldn't attend the rescreening with subtitles, and now I am curious what I may have missed.
That was Thursday of last week. Last night I saw another film.Grbavica
- I had a good feeling about this one, and did some juggling to make this work in the schedule. Deeply moving, heartbreaking, beautiful, stunning - quite a feature debut for this young director. I absolutely loved this film. Really original and affecting and gorgeous and subtly horrific. Set in post-war Sarajevo, it examines life in Sarajevo after the 90s' war in Bosnia, through a story that focuses on a single mother and her relationship with her daughter. The film's plot and characterization is that of a well-written and gripping novel with the subtle and mature emotional resonance of a great poem. I analyze other creative works in the context of literary genres, because that is what I'm most comfortable and familiar with. To find a film that is as a good as a good book... well that's pretty damn good! Grbavica is also well-acted and politically relevant. Jasmila Zbanic, the writer and director, was there afterward to answer questions, and she was charming and self-effacing and smart, and discussed the casting process, as well as work she has done using the film to advocate for women affected by the war. I can't say much more without giving away too much of the film, but I hope it is released here. Write down the title now, Grbavica, and go see it when it gets to the Carlton or Cumberland. Actually, she said distributors want to change the title...
Next I'm off to Severance
, a goofy-sounding Midnight Madness affair that I hope is funny. They say The Office meets Deliverance... I hope that is accurate!
Damn I am tired...