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Film Festival Day 12, 06/08/2013

Another thing that I was reminded about by Mud – lyrics to old songs are frequently more troubling than you’d expect. I mean, it wasn’t “My Sharona”-level icky, but I hadn’t realised that “Help Me Rhonda” basically says, “My girlfriend broke up with me, and I wanted to marry her; but you’re cute, so please be my rebound.” Way to woo a girl, Beach Boys. 🙂

Film #57: Ernest & Celestine

A cute French animated film for kids – bears hate mice, and mice are terrified of bears. Celestine isn’t so convinced that all bears are terrible, and Ernest… well, initially Ernest is just hungry. They meet, they help each other, and complications ensue.

I liked the art style, and Celestine’s forthright manner; I would enjoy watching this with my nibblings.

Film #58: The Venice Syndrome

Tourists have achieved parity with the inhabitants of Venice; by 2030, it’s projected that all of the residents will have left. Public services such as maternity wards and post offices have closed, and the rental costs/house prices have sky-rocketed. They showed images of the cruise ships coming in, dominating the skyline, and listen to a surveyor contrasting the 300 year-old lime mortar (which he says will last another 200 years) with the shoddy repair work that has been done (which he says will last 20 years, if that). And they show the tide flooding the streets – flooding them with canal water, which is where all the sewage goes.

And yet, I think to myself – they have these cruise ships, but at least they don’t have hotels that size dominating the skyline permanently. And residents lament the shut-down of services, but at least they aren’t knocking down buildings for strip malls, or getting a bunch of glass and steel skyscrapers anonymising their city into the shape of every other metropolis. Venice may end up becoming a museum, rather than a living city… but you maintain the exhibits at a museum, so maybe there are worse things that could have happened? And maybe it’ll become a city again sometime in the future?

Film #59: Die Welt

This film starts with a Tunisian youth trying to stop a customer from making the terrible mistake of ordering Transformers 2. It then moves through, looking at the limited opportunities available to young Tunisian men – work for a relative (if you’re lucky), find a lonely visiting European woman, steal from the docks or smuggle yourself across into mainland Europe.

It was all right, but slow enough that I was worried that I’d misread the programme — it felt like it had been significantly longer than the 80 minutes it was meant to be.  This wouldn’t normally worry me too much, but I was meant to be meeting Jenni with tickets to the next movie, and I only had a 10 minute gap.  But soon after I discretely turned my phone on to check the time, it came to a meandering, slightly ironic halt.

It was okay, but I’m not sure I could recommend it.

Film #60: The Bling Ring

A bunch of rich bored teens graduate from stealing out of cars to raiding celebrity homes, basing their escapades on internet coverage of the celebrities’ out-of-town events. They evade notice for a while because they don’t clean the houses out, and the stars in question (like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan) have so much stuff that millions of dollars of designer swag going missing was not obvious. But boasting to friends, posting pictures on Facebook, and keeping personal items from the stars meant that they were pretty easy to bust once they were found… which led to the unedifying sight of them scrambling to justify their actions, and leverage the publicity to launch their brands.

A lot more label porn and partying than I really needed to see, but perhaps that was the point – there’s nothing deep about these kids or their actions, and there’s no evidence that they learned anything from what happened, other than how easy it is to get famous in America.

Film #61: 2 Autumns, 3 Winters

This looked like it might be a fluffy French comedy like It Boy. It wasn’t, really.

I mean, it had funny bits, but I would not describe it as “light”. The main characters addressed the camera directly, describing what was happening on-screen in the past tense. The main themes seem to be romantic relationships (and how unprepared middle-class late-twenty/early-thirty-somethings are to deal with them), and death – in fact, two of the main characters have near-death experiences.

I’m not sure I have anything interesting to say about this film. It was all right.

Film #62: The Summit (& Maul)

The kiwi short was a… horror? Maybe an absurdist horror? It was about rugby, kind of, and the team as organism; but it wasn’t developed quite enough to be scary.

The main feature was about the climb of K2 where 11 climbers lost their lives. More generally, it was about how stories about extreme situations can differ, depending on the observer. They had interviews with one of the Italians who was on the first successful K2 expedition, who says that he and his climbing partner took oxygen up to those who ended up reaching the summit; but the story that the other climbers told when they came down was that he and his partner used the oxygen themselves. Can the truth be known?

And there were people in the fourth camp who refused to go to the aid of climbers in trouble above them, while there were some who chose to, and some who were ordered to. Many of those who tried to help died; so does that confirm that those who chose not to put themselves in danger for people who weren’t adequately prepared made the right choice? Or at least, a right choice?

One of the people who got in trouble (also an Italian) who got themselves most of the way down claimed that the climber he had been with (an Irishman) had gotten confused and wandered back up. But there’s evidence that the Irishman actually went back to help three Korean climbers that they passed, and managed to get them close to safety before an icefall killed them, him, and the Sherpas that the Korean team leader ordered up the mountain to help them. (The Korean team leader did not come across very well in the movie.)

There was a combination of archival footage from the climb, interviews from the survivors, and recreations with actors. I don’t particularly like heights, and there were many shots that were pretty vertiginous; but there were also many impressive vistas, including the view of K2’s shadow trailing off into China.

I have no interest in mountain climbing, but I found this story interesting, and would recommend it.

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