Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jason goes to SFIFF--Day 14

Two more movies on the penultimate night of the festival:

First up, the short ARSY-VERSY, a Slovakian documentary about directory Miroslav Remo's eccentric uncle, his bats, his photography, and his amateur filmmaking (including a role as a human bat).

That short led into THE INVENTION OF DR. NAKAMATS, a documentary on an even more eccentric man. Yoshiro Nakamats holds over 3,400 patents (way more than that hack Thomas Edison), including the floppy disk (and he has a gate in the shape of a floppy disk at his home). He's 80 years old, but plans to live to 144. That plan is based on photographing every meal he's eaten for 34 years and using his findings to invent the perfect life-sustaining drink. And currently, he's inventing a new type of bra. But his biggest invention might just be his own personality cult. For his birthday, he got a hotel to change one of it's banquet rooms to the "Nakamats Room" so he could have his party there. As a movie, this doesn't offer a whole lot more than a look at a very strange, maybe brilliant man (although he doesn't seem like a technology nerd), and it's pretty brisk at just under an hour. But the short time with this eccentric was enough.

And then I ended the night with a war film, LEBANON. Director Samuel Maoz fought in a tank crew in the first Lebanon war, but set this film in a tank in the second Lebanon war. Like DAS BOOT on land, the claustrophobia is palpable, as what was supposed to be a cake walk goes horribly wrong and they end up isolated from the rest of their comrades. Although it's set in the middle of a war, by confining the action entirely within the tank, it not only creates a claustrophobic atmosphere, it strips the war of all context and makes the squabbles inside the tank far more important. And those squabbles--about morality and what it takes to shoot someone who may or may not be a threat to you--are plenty weighty. Excellent, powerful movie.

Total Running Time: 174 minutes
My Total Minutes: 184,551
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