Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jason goes to Berlin and Beyond--closing night

I didn't make it up for the matinees, but I did go to the closing night film and party. Before hand they announced the audience award winners. And since I've been told (although I can't verify this) that I was the first online source to report that "Paula's Secret" won, let me go further and tell you that they also announced the top three runners up. They were all very close, with scores between something like 4.62 and 4.66 (out of 5) and I might have some in the wrong order. But to my recollection they were:

3rd runner-up: "Late Bloomers"
2nd runner-up: "Jacob's Brother" (this might have been 1st runner-up, I'm not sure)
1st runner-up: "To The Limit" (which I missed, it was a weekday noon screening and I have a regular job).
And, of course, the winner is "Paula's Secret".

But for my money, the best could have been the closing night comedy, "Grave Decisions" (the original title, "Wer Früher Stirbt, Ist Länger Tot", I'm told translates to "The earlier you die, the longer you're dead". Unwieldy in English, but I like it better.) It takes place in a small Bavarian town. Sebastian is an 11 year old boy who lives with his father, works in their inn, gets into trouble, is beaten by his older brother, and deeply misses his dead mother. At first he does some experiments to see if he can bring her back. His Frankenstein experiment on a rabbit ends with an explosion (and completes the festival's dead bunny trifecta), and then he moves on to trying to become immortal himself. The inn's drunk regulars explain how procreation is the secret to immortality, intending to explain how his mother lives on through him. Instead it leads to an awkward encounter with his teacher. Later to local radio DJ (and the teacher's husband) explains how rock-and-roll fame makes you immortal, so he gets a guitar and practices like crazy. He's certainly got the rock-and-roll wild streak down (though he's too young for sex and drugs). It's a sweet, crowd-pleasing, coming-of-age story with a touch of surrealism and absurdity that strikes me just right. An excellent way to end a find festival.

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