Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 6

The big first weekend is over, with another 5 shows on Sunday.

I was once again up for some 10 am drinks in the lounge (who the hell needs sleep?) and then off to see some shorts, with Shorts Program 2: Bending Space, Folding Time
THE APOCALYPSE WILL BE AUTOMATED: Clearly the one thing that makes of self-driving cars have not considered is how they will work in a zombie apocalypse.
HYBRIDS: When there's more trash than animals, the two will merge.
NON MERCI: Stop and smell the roses, if you can. Or waste another 24 minutes of your life with this nonsensical film.
RAKKA: Neil Blomkamp playing with short films again. It's pretty clear he's practicing for his rumored ALIEN project. He even got Sigourney Weaver in on this one.
SPACE GIRLS: The most important thing for 9 year old future astronauts--sleep. Or maybe it's dreaming, but sleeping is important, too.
THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT: A wonderful experimental film, about one of the world's most wonderful experimenter. Tesla calls JP Morgan, asking him to invest in his plan to light up the entire world.
TREE HOUSE TIME MACHINE: Those kids need the time machine to go back and solve a past mystery. Excellent short.

I hope you all had a good time bending space and folding time, but there are no more screenings of this program at Cinequest.

Next up was a feature from returning Cinequest royalty, Alex and Katie Orr (BLOOD CAR, CONGRATULATIONS, A IS FOR ALEX.) POOR JANE tells the story--character study, really--of a woman, Jane (Brandy Burre,) who suddenly and without a good explanation, finds she no longer loves her husband. That's it. It happens. So does she stick around just for the sake of it? Does she go find someone else who she does love? Does she focus on her career and herself? In Jane's case, a little of all of it. It's really kind of how this realization throws her into a state where she doesn't really know what she wants, and that's pretty scary. She dates a guy (Robert Longstreet) and they seem to hit it off...but not really 100%. She makes a lot of pretty foolish decisions, but what does foolish even mean if there's no end goal in mind? Burre is excellent in the lead role, and kudos to the film for showing a female point of view that is only her point of view--not how her decisions affect those around her. I mean, you're free to care about what her husband is going through, but this film very clearly and defiantly does not. That's just not the story it's telling.

POOR JANE will play again Wednesday and Saturday in Redwood City.


Next up was BIKINI MOON, an excellent examination of homelessness, mental illness, and the responsibility of a documentary filmmaker. Condola Rashad plays Bikini, a former marine who is now homeless on the streets of New York. A documentary crew is following her around, filming her. They know they've got a bit of indie-film gold here. Not only is Bikini's story powerful and tragic, but she is a charismatic and her antics can be downright funny. I mean, that's not an excuse for not caring about her or if the documentary is actually making her life worse. Which eventually the filmmakers-within-the-film start to realize, and the film is as much about their fights as it is about her. By the time various members of the team either drop out or change their focus to helping her, a lot of damage has been done. Great film, that gives you many different levels of things to think about.

BIKINI MOON will play again Tuesday and Saturday nights in Redwood City.

The next show starting with a really cool animated short, VALLEY OF THE WHITE BIRDS. Cycles of life and guilt, very cool.

That was the lead-in to the feature ARUN, from Thailand. Three childhood friends are not at all ready to face the real world as adults. That's okay, their still kids, right? That is, until Isara, the only girl of the group, is taken away to Bangkok. Arun and Kasem go to find her, their only lead being her fear that she would be taken away to "work in a bar" (i.e., forced into sex work.) And that's the whole movie, Arun and Kasem searching for her in Bangkok, and learning how horrible the real world of adults is. Man, that was uncomfortable. But I guess that's the point.

This program will play again Tuesday and Sunday in Redwood City, and Thursday at the 3 Below in San Jose.

And finally, I ended the night with shorts Program 3: The Reality of Illusion
ALTERNATIVE MATH: 2 + 2 = 4. Or at least it used to. But in a post-fact world, what's more important is what the child thinks it is. But if this teacher is going to lose her job over that, well she's not going down without a fight.
DON'T PASS THROUGH SAN BERNARDINO: Because if you do, you could get murdered. And the government is going to be no help out all for your mother. (Note: the title refers to the village in Mexico, not the city of California.)
THE FIRST OF MANY: Based on a true incident in 1971 (that's fully relevant today,) a young actress was raped by an award-winning songwriter, as she auditioned for his movie. This recreation is directed by that actress, and stars her daughter and returning Cinequest alum Lawrence Levine as the rapist (yikes, I like Lawrence, and I know it's just a role, but I don't like seeing him as such a creep.)
IMAGINARY CIRCUMSTANCES: Dating is hard. Maybe it would be easier to start with the breakup?
MINA TOBIAS: KINGS AND QUEENS: A music video about love and fantasy.
PAGG: A Sikh American faces racist abuse. Still. Because people suck. C'mon white guys, we can do better.
PLAYING IT STRAIGHT: A guy tells his girlfriend about his mother. Who is married to a woman she loves and spends all her time with. You know...I think she might be a lesbian, even if she won't admit it.
SNIP: Weird stop-motion animation about a land accessed through the subway tunnels, and the escape of the two children trapped in there.
TIME TRAVELER: From Ireland, a family is forced to move from their meadow. Hopefully not before the little kid can finish his BACK TO THE FUTURE car. A Honda is a fine replacement for a DeLorean, right?

That was the last screening of this shorts program. Sorry.

Total Running Time: 491 minutes
My Total Minutes: 472,839
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