Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jason goes to Docfest--Day 11

Docfest is over, but I'm still wrapping up my last half-dozen "reviews"

Last Monday started with the World Wide Shorts program:

EVERYDAY PEOPLE--From the UK, funny interviews with people who have the same names as celebrities. Julia Roberts, Gordon Ramsey, etc. Interesting, funny anecdotes and tips for dealing with the reactions. Reminds me of the hotel clerk I knew in Yuma, AZ named Bill Cosby. He always introduced himself as "the poor white one, not the rich black one."

SWEAT--Another one where the trailer has been bugging me all week. I now finally know how competitive sauna works (whoever stays in longest wins). A real weirdo from Finland, where sauna is like a religion.

THE FLYING SHEPHERD--Romanian shepherds tend their flocks, hang out and chat, and fly their ultralight airplanes. All while keeping an eye out for "the German" who owns the runway an who will be pissed if he catches them.

STORY OF A BUSINESSWOMAN--A young Japanese woman opens a real estate office, mentors up-and-coming businessmen (most of whom are older than her), and does what she must to succeed in the male-dominated Japanese business world. Creepiest moment (possibly a bit lost in translation): when they talk about a high school girl who was gang-raped and she blurts out "silly girl!"

SONGS FROM THE TUNDRA--Life of hunters in the remotest regions of Russia. Interesting mix of the traditional and the modern. One moment they're eating raw elk brains, next moment they're tooling around in tanks and playing video games.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm missing one of the shorts. I just feel there were 6, not 5. But that's all there is in the program and I don't recall an announcement about an added film.


Anyway, the next film was a feature about plastic surgery and the anti-aging industry, YOUTH KNOWS NO PAIN, and it inspired me to want to bring a ton of pain to the artificial youth. That's not fair, that's badly influenced by my personal opinions on cosmetic surgery, and shouldn't be taken as a criticism of the film. Director Mitch McCabe has actually made a fine film, and has a unique viewpoint as a daughter of a cosmetic surgeon and someone who has used face creams, etc. from a young age but hasn't gone under the knife (yet). She does a good job finding and interviewing doctors and patients, especially one woman who is always getting work done (her quiet, smiling husband is an interesting but ignored character. I couldn't help thinking he wanted to say more but didn't want to upset her). I'm sure this movie can find an appreciative audience, and I hate to pan a movie based on the subject rather than the film making, but I just couldn't get into it. And it's all because I didn't think any of the patients looked good (with the exception of patients who fixed actually damage--mastectomy, disfigurement, etc.) Telling point--there's one scene where the surgery-addicted woman gets lip implants, and remarks she looks 5 years younger. I had to lean over to my friend and whisper "because 5 years ago she was a mutated freak?" That's just my opinion, but I'm sticking to it.
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