First up, after a few drinks in the lounge, was a Georgian film, HORIZON. Giorgi is a young man who is somewhat starting his life over. He has officially separated from his wife Ana, and he has a sense of freedom and opportunities open to him for the first time in years. Basically, his whole life is on the horizon (at least, I assume that's the point of the title.) So he moves out to the country, living with his new best friend and enjoying country pastimes like fishing and duck hunting. Well, "enjoying" isn't exactly the right word. He muddles through them with his friend. And pines for Ana. His whole life is on the horizon, but the trouble with that is the horizon is always too far away to reach (don't @ me, flat-earthers) and so he never really gets there. The acting is good, the natural vistas are pretty, and the movie is a slow, "slice of life" drama. I will trust you to know if you like those. If you're a fan of those kinds of movies, this is a good one. For me, it comes down to whether or not I'm in the mood at that time. And it's so late in the festival and I'm on so little sleep that I need something with a little more kick.
HORIZON plays one more time Sun, Mar 17 3:45 PM in Redwood City
Next up was the documentary GIFT, a beautiful, colorful documentary about artists and the gifts they give to the world. Specifically, it's about artists who give away their works. There's a "moving garden" exhibit where the audience each takes a flower, as long as they can give it away to someone else. There's an artist collective who turn a threatened building into a living museum to protect it and the inhabitants. And, of course, there's Burning Man, that thing in the desert that has enshrined the "gift economy" into its values (we won't mention how much you have to spend just for a ticket there, not to mention supplies to live out there.) I have a little bugaboo about Burning Man docs, only because I've been going for a couple of decades and no documentary has ever captured my experience, instead pushing insistent optimism and purity of the Burning Man ethos. But really that's my hangup. This movie is legitimately great and beautiful, although probably about 10-15 minutes too long, since I started getting bored and sleepy at the end.
Then I had time to catch about half of the TV Dramas Shorts Program
THE SHADES: A man is on trial for a violent crime against a woman. His lawyer, who seems completely bored with the proceedings, gets him off on a due process point. So the community takes matters into their own hands. And the lawyer is part of it, but since it's only the pilot it doesn't reveal everything. This one was intriguing enough I'd be tempted to follow the series all the way through.
NICE IRANIAN GIRL: A short comedic series that is exactly what the title says. Well, specifically it's a nice Iranian girl living in the U.S. and trying to balance cultures.
TUCSON SALVAGE: Based on the book by Brian Jabas Smith, it's a look at the lives of some of the most marginalized people in Tucson. And it's really depressing.
Then I bailed early for some VIP Soiree time at Cafe Stritch. Sorry, I just needed a break.
Then an English thriller, THE UNSEEN. A young well-to-do couple has a happy life with their young son, until tragedy strikes in the form of a pool accident, and they lose their son. Gemma has panic attacks that literally strike her blind (a real condition...I forgot the medical term...it's very rare to happen in both eyes but that's what she has.) When this leads to an auto accident, a stranger named Paul steps in and helps. And he develops a friendship with Gemma and her husband Will. In fact, they become such good friends that Paul invites them to his country guest house so they can get away for a while and maybe get their lives back together. Of course, with the festival theme of Expect the Unexpected, Paul is more than he appears and it becomes a thriller. Which I guess isn't too unexpected because I said that in the beginning. Anyway, the acting is great, the surprises are satisfying, and overall it's a good story well told.
THE UNSEEN has two more screenings Sat, Mar 16 4:00 PM and Sun, Mar 17 1:15 PM, both in Redwood City
And I ended the night with Shorts Program 9 - Hidden. Expect the Unexpected!
BEN AND MIMI - MIMI AND BEN: A love triangle of a woman, her husband, and her pet caterpillar.
BLACK HAT: A distracted orthodox Jewish man keeps leaving his hat behind. And one night, he leaves it in a potentially very dangerous place.
THE BUMBRY ENCOUNTER: A young couple, lost on a mountain rode, witness what may be a U.F.O. But the authorities have other ideas...ideas that a mixed-race couple just shouldn't be. A great story of manipulation.
BUNNY MAN: Some young people in Vancouver talk about ethnic stereotypes. Then a Bunny Man walks in. My favorite!
|The titular Bunny Man|
FAUVE: Two kids play a game of trickery and one-upsmanship. Until things go wrong.
THE FISHERMAN: An old man talks to a fish. No wait, reverse that. A fish talks to an old man. People think he (the old man) is crazy. But the fish has an important message.
GUNS FOUND HERE: A fascinating look at the center that traces gun records back to their owner. In any police procedural, they "run a trace" on a gun. These are the guys who do that trace, and how the law is designed to make it difficult and time-consuming, so that there is no national gun registry.
NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB: A donkey carrying a package of white powder. They say it's laundry detergent, but it's really something else. Anyway, a couple of kids find it. The older brother knows what's up, but the younger brother has a much better use for that white powder. A very funny Tunisian story.
SPECIAL DELIVERY: No one is more lonely than the mailman around Valentine's Day.
Shorts Program 9 - Hidden has two more screenings: Sat, Mar 16 2:30 PM at 3Below, and Sun, Mar 17 10:30 AM in Redwood City
Total Running Time: 474 minutes
My Total Minutes: 501,268