Thursday, March 3, 2016

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 2

I'm working my regular day job this year, no time off for me. So it's evenings and weekends only. But I made it there in time for the VIP Soiree at Café Stritch. Where of course I met and drank with more filmmakers. My schedule is coming together, but I actually don't know what to see tonight. So any filmmakers in town, find me at the VIP Soiree at Il Fornaio, have a drink with me, and make me see your film.
 
Anyway, after probably one too many Stellas Artois, I headed over to the newly re-opend San Jose Rep Hammer Theatre for the SJSU student film/work in progress THE YELLOW WALLPAPER, although it doesn't feel like either a student film or a work in progress (in fact, the word I heard is it's mostly music rights that are still "in progress" so when I'm sure Cinequest plays the finished product next year, it might have a different soundtrack, but otherwise be very close to the same.) Based on an 1892 short story that is credited as an important feminist work (I haven't read it, so I can't comment) the movie is re-set in the 1950s, a pretty important time for American feminism. A woman and her husband (who is also her physician) move into a house for the summer. He sets her up in a former nursery, and orders rest and relaxation as treatment for her post-partum depression. But the isolation gets to her, and that yellow wallpaper with intricate patterns (excellent set design there) starts getting to her, too. Not to minimize the condition of post-partum depression, but the treatment, needless to say, is not making her better. At first, she imagines faces in it (and I can see it, the patterns really were excellent) and just asks her husband to change the paper. But they're only there for a few months, so why go to all that trouble? ("Why go to all that trouble" just for a woman's problem is pretty much the theme of the story.) Her condition deteriorates until she starts seeing dark figures, and tries to tell people about it, but nobody will believe her, much less help. This started as a short film and grew into a feature in production, and as a result the pace lags somewhat. Or maybe that was all the drinks I had. Anyway, it's a really well made movie, definitely worth seeing as a "work in progress" and worth seeing when it's completely finished (when I suspect it won't be much different.)
 
THE YELLOW WALLPAPER plays again Saturday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m.
 
And then I was over to the Camera 12 for Shorts 4: Animated Worlds. Hooray for cartoons!
BENDITO MACHINE V - PULL THE TRIGGER: Using clever silhouette animation, an alien comes to earth and is utterly befuddled and overcome by our capacity to kill each other. With that description, you'd be surprised to realize how funny it is.
BOUND FOR GLORY: Cinequest veteran David Chai (FUMI AND THE BAD LUCK FOOT, BEHIND MY BEHIND) returns with a sweet song and a train ride with a grandfather and grandchild.
CARFACE: Cars sing Que Sera, Sera, as an ode to big oil. A pretty funny way to watch the world die.
CARLO: From Italy comes a hilarious story of an unimportant office worker. He has a crush on the girl who works there. And back home, he has an entire world that he has created and is their God. A story of God watching over his people, when he's not worrying about more important things. Very, very funny.
CITY OF ROSES: A tearjerker, and based on a true story. An Irish child rescues a suitcase from a bonfire, curious about what's in it. He finds a cache of letters, correspondence from an Irish man who moved to Portland, OR and was drafted into the Army. There's something beautiful and touching about learning of this man's life, love, and tragedy through the recovered letters.
COWS: I had seen this before at SFIFF, and it's still funny. All singing, all dancing, all glorious cows!
THE FOREST PAPER: From Thailand, a charming animation about a world made out of paper, a commuter, and a bird looking to build a nest.
FULFILAMENT: A lightbulb searches the world to find the spot where he fits. Turns out, he's the lightbulb of a bright idea.
GOLDEN SHOT: Machines, powered by light, spend all their time and effort trying to keep the lights on. But one has the daring idea--build the sun.
IF I WAS GOD: A 12 year old boy, feeling the power of oncoming adolescence, absolutely fries a dead frog in biology class.
MY HEART ATTACK: Director Sheldon Cohen's true story of how his wife tried to save a dog and failed, but then saved his life. A personal story of what it feels like to suffer--and recover from--a heart attack.
THE STORY OF PERCIVAL PILTS: Another one I had seen at SFIFF. A dreamer reaches great heights. And the world just has to learn to adapt and appreciate him. And what a spectacular view he has.
TAKING FLIGHT: Grandpa and grandson turn a boring day into an adventure with the help of dad's old Radio Flyer red wagon. Beautiful.
WELCOME TO MY LIFE: Yeah, he's a monster in high school. No big deal, he has friends, he has classes, he is sometimes challenged to fights. Normal high school stuff, for anyone who has ever felt a little different.
 
Shorts 4: Animated Worlds plays again Friday, March 4 at 4:45 and Saturday, March at 2:30
 
And as I said, my program is coming together. More filmmakers I drank with to fill my schedule:
HEAVEN'S FLOOR on Friday
JOSEPHINE DOE on Saturday
VIRAL VIRAL on Sunday
INDIVISIBLE on Sunday
CREEDMORIA on Sunday
NILA on Monday
DEPENDENT'S DAY a week from Friday (shoot, I'll have to rush to make it to that on time.)
THE PROMISED BAND a week from Saturday (actually, I drank with one of the producers a month ago at the media launch, but I forgot and circled HEAVEN'S FLOOR on their first screening. So...oops. But I'll still see it!)
 
Total Running Time: 197 minutes
My Total Minutes: 420,876
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