Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 11

A shortened Sunday at the festival, since I had a lunchtime engagement with a beautiful young lady. Really young, like 100 days old. Congratulations to the proud parents.

Enough of that on to the movies:

First up was the "romantic" shorts program, "Meet Cute, Love Hard". Of course, this being Indiefest, there's as much bitter cynicism as romance.
Fun on Earth: If the girl says she's from rural Alaska, but shape shifts and needs to take a special powder to keep from turning into a gelatinous goo, don't believe her. But after you get over the trust issues, no reason you can't have a little fun.
Rope: That's one mighty fine looking rope. One you can spend the rest of your life with.
Love at First Sight: Fun with movies. Although I couldn't bring myself to believe the male lead was actually straight.
Young Love: A discussion of fantasies. By Emily Carmichael, who also made the very different The Adventures of Ledo and Ix in the animated shorts program.
Anatomy of Numbers: Who's keeping score, anyway?
Rancid: The night after a threesome can be quite awkward.
Green Door: Dark comic story of mistaken identity, apartment rentals, and a love triangle...quadrilateral...pentagon? I lost count.

The next program started with the short Sometimes We Hum. An excellent tutorial in the proper way to deal with noise disturbances. Step 1: find ammo.

Then the feature, Woodpecker, was one of the nicest, funniest surprises in the festival (mostly because I didn't read the description in the program guide. They actually give away an important point that was a fun surprise for me). In the 1940's the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was declared extinct. And it was assumed to be until very recently, when sightings were reported in the bayous of eastern Arkansas. Suddenly birdwatchers from around the world appeared trying to catch a glimpse, which was a huge boon to the local economy. Along with the birdwatchers, filmmaker Alex Karpovsky showed up to document the excitement. He interviewed many locals and birdwatchers from all over. They all are brimming with excitement, but none more than house painter/poet/and intense birder Johnny Neander. Somehow the movie naturally gravitates to him sitting for hours in blinds or trudging through swamps with his sidekick Wes. Wes is actually an even more interesting character. He's a recent Korean emigre and had hired Johnny to paint his house in preparation for his wedding. However, halfway through the job his fiancee called it off. Wes isn't a birder, but asked Johnny if he could tag along just to take his mind off his troubles. While Johnny practically never stops talking (it's sometimes a wonder his mouth doesn't scare off all the birds), Wes never gets a word in edgewise.

And then...the story gets weird. I really don't want to give too much away, but events happen that make you question everything that came before. Is the Ivory-billed Woodpecker really back? Maybe. What's definite is there are some odd birds in this movie.

And then the last film of the weekend (not counting President's Day) was the international love/death story, I'll Come Running. Pelle is a Danish tourist in Texas, tired of the gaudy "culture" and ready to leave and head back home for a lucrative job offer. In the weekend before he leaves, he meets Veronica, a waitress at a Mexican restaurant. Having little in common beyond a love of "The Simpsons", (they start referring to each other as "Milhouse" and "Lisa") they start flirting and have a steamy weekend long fling. And then he has to return home. Or maybe not. There's a huge plot twist (I love the unpredictability of the story), and she ends up going to Denmark to meet his family and friends. She's bewildered and can't navigate, but finds her way to his apartment where she meets his best friend and later his family. I'm not doing a good job of describing this (mostly because I'm avoiding spoilers), but I was impressed with the unpredictability, the odd confluence of a story that takes place in Texas and Denmark, and especially by the great acting (and especially especially by Melonie Diaz as Veronica).

And that was Sunday at Indiefest. I'm almost caught up.
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