We're all a little mad here! I've been saying that over and over again whenever anybody comments on my top hat (featured in the CQ trailer.) But it occurs to me that I've seen a lot of films about or featuring mental illness this year. So is Cinequest crazier than it has ever been?
Anyway, after a few drinks and other adventures at the VIP Soiree at Loft, I started the evening with the short film WEN'S DAY. A chronically ill man lives in the hospital. His favorite doctor is Dr. Wendie Everstone, but drop the "Die" and "Stone" and you get Dr. Whenever, because she's always there for him. Except on Wen's Day. Which I saw on Wednesday. Whoah! Mind...blown! Also the film was pretty cool.
And then the feature NIGHT SONGS. Seungwoo is a film director, travelling to the town of Samnye to write. There he drinks a lot, fails to write, and stays in a love hotel (but, like, as a regular hotel for him to sleep in.) He doesn't know what to do with himself, to the point that he has to call a friend who advises he masturbates, because that's what guys do when they're alone. Fortunately, he doesn't take that advice. Instead he meets Heein, a beautiful, charming young woman who becomes something of his muse as their friendship grows. It's a wonderfully contemplative film, and the cinematography is spectacular--whether it's views of the cosmos (solar system/eclipse visuals show up repeatedly,) or nature, or people.
WEN'S DAY and NIGHT SONGS plays again Friday at 12:15. Holy crap, that's today, very soon! Go! Now!
Next up was TRANSFIXED, a documentary about a unique couple, Martine Stonehouse and John Gelmon. They both have Asperger's syndrome (technically, high-functioning autism, Asperger's is not a real diagnosis anymore. But since they use it in the movie, I'll use it here.) And Martine was born Martin. And while they love each other, John won't marry her until her sex reassignment surgery is complete--he's a big fan of vagina (penis, not so much.) Now I could feel some in the audience cringing. This is the good liberal Bay Area where your gender is not defined by your plumbing and there's other ways to make love than penis-in-vagina. But I took it as 'this is what they want' (and she certainly wants the surgery, it's not just John pushing her into it) and even if their fixation on this issue is in part due to their Asperger's, It's rare enough for a couple to get what they want, so I won't criticize them for that. The big complication in all of this is her weight issue, which makes her not a good candidate for surgery. And here is where I can grumble a little bit--there's some editing of her talking about struggling with her weight that's then cut with her eating fast food that I thought was a bit of fat-shaming humor I didn't appreciate. But ultimately (SPOILER ALERT) this is about a couple that does what they have to do, fights for their love, and makes it in the end. And I was rooting for them, so that was great.
TRANSFIXED played again Thursday at 3:00, but I didn't get this written in time. However it is scheduled to be in theaters locally in April!
Total Running Time: 174 minutes
My Total Minutes: 423,081