Skip to content

Film Festival Day 12, 05/08/2014

I remember when I started going to the Festival, every second film seemed to be presented in conjunction with Canal+. Nowadays, the pie-slap of Madman Entertainment seems to start more than half of what I see. Is it my changing tastes, the changing tastes of the programmers, or have they just gotten super-big?  Or maybe it’s a conspiracy…

* * *

Would you beg your colleagues to keep your job, even though that would mean that they’d lose a bonus that their family needs?  Would you vote to fire someone who you’ve worked with if a thousand euro bonus you’d been relying on was in jeopardy?

In Two Days, One Night a woman who has been on sick leave (for depression) has come back to work to find that management has decided that they can do without her, so they’ve told her workmates vote about whether her position should be kept.  But if she stays, they lose their end-of-year bonuses… and the team leader has hinted to enough people that someone else might get fired if she stays that the original vote was 14 to 2.  However, the boss is persuaded that this was unfair, and to have a secret ballot on Monday –so the woman has the weekend to find out whether she can persuade her workmates to let her stay.

I don’t know if I could do that: deal with depression and beg for other people to give up something that they need. I don’t know if I could be the husband supporting and pushing her to do that.  I don’t know if I could say that my family will struggle more so that this other person can have a job.

I hope I never have to find out.

I knew going in that it was going to be a hard film to watch, one of the ones I might not brave enough to try if I didn’t know I was going to watch a bunch of others.  I’m glad I did.

* * *

Does Boyhood benefit from being filmed over a long time, from watching the kids and adults age?  I think it does, but perhaps as much for the authentic ageing of the adults as the kids. It’s certainly true that the kids get better at acting as they get older.  There were times that it made me think about the process as much as the story, though. It’s hard to imagine (for example when dark stuff is happening in the middle of the picture) what the kids are thinking about what they’re seeing, and how this makes them perceive the adult world.

I’m not sure that the film was made more profound by the way it was made.  But I thought it was a good film.

* * *

Sacro GRA was a “film what is going on” documentary.  It was certainly interesting to see the different extremes of ostentation and poverty, urban apartments and herds of sheep, dancers swaying listlessly on the counter of a bar while a fisherman pulls in pots of eels, all off the same ring road.

Because there’s no narration, you get the fragments of story that the people there tell each other – the ambulance crew joking with the crash victim on the gurney, who says that the hospital is so close he should have walked.  Or the woman getting her makeup done in the car by another woman, complaining that when the police arrested her they said she had been completely naked, while she had been clothed, and that she’ll get a lawyer and he’ll write a letter to the mayor.

As is usual with these sort of films, it was a bit slow, and I’m not sure they managed to tie it together too well.  But there were enough interesting bits that I don’t feel disappointed I saw it.

* * *

The programme compared When Animals Dream to Let The Right One In; it’s a a fair guide to what you’re getting into, although I don’t think that When Animals Dream has the same impact or depth of myth.  It’s a werewolf story, and I thought it was interesting that the film is shaped for us to sympathize with the protagonist (a striking, shy young teen who looks after her wheelchair-bound mother and starts working at a fish processing plant), even though the fact tend to point to the antagonists having very reasonable (and, in the end, completely realized) fears.

I enjoyed it, but it was a bit slight.

* * *

Starred Up was a gritty prison movie, which meant there were sections where the unfamiliar patois was an obstacle to understanding what was going on.  But the basics of the story are that a young man is transferred to a high security prison (because of the danger he represents to other inmates and guards), which happens to be where his father is held.  His father tries to both protect and control him; he gets into repeated trouble, some of which is his own fault; and an outsider, who is trying to help some of the inmates manage their anger, tries to help him (which both his dad and the prison authorities have mixed feelings about).

One thing that I remember reading is that the problem with locking people up is that you are putting them in a situation where all they have to do all day is work out how to do stuff, while you’re only spending part of your time thinking about how to stop them.  Added to that would be the fact that any idea that works will be passed around like wildfire, and you’ve got another reason why prison guards would feel under siege.

And we see plenty of examples of prison lore – using lighter to set a plastic toothbrush on fire, and using the melted plastic to make both a shiv and a screwdriver (by pushing the hot plastic into the end of a screw), for example.  Or having two bottles of baby oil, so when you’re fighting the guards you’re slippery and difficult to get hold of… and the guards having buckets of sand at the ready, because they know of that tactic.

So, there’s the MacGyver-like thrill of seeing things from the normal world transformed, the ever-present threat of anger escalating to uncontrolled violence, and a father-son story.  The anger/anger-management felt real, and that made the film work for me.

I liked it, but it wouldn’t be for everyone.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *