Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jason goes to SFIFF--Day 14

Unless I lost count. Anyway, it was last Wednesday, the penultimate night of the festival.

Many apologies for not updating sooner. I've been (and still am) a bit ill.

First up, TROUBLED WATERS, a Norwegian story of crime, punishment, and rehabilitation. 8 years ago, Thomas killed a young boy. In prison, he became a model Christian and learned to play the church organ. Now he's released from prison and he gets a job as an organist in a church with the hottest freakin' female pastor ever (seriously, this atheist nearly found religion. Those were the nicest set of tits I've seen on any member of clergy ever). He becomes an institution in the church, starts dating the pastor, and becomes the default babysitter for her son (who adores him). This development is a shock to the mother of the child he killed, who spots him as she leads her school class on a field trip to the church. While the first half is his story, the second half is her story, and that dynamic--looking at certain events from different points of view--is really interesting and exciting. This movie throws a lot of clever tricks and cool ideas at you, so much so that rather than trust my memory I had to note them down on my phone's memo application. So here are some notes I took immediately after the movie when all the ideas are swirling around (with my current expansions on those notes):

Which way is up?--there are a lot of scenes that confuse the sense of gravity. Really cool.
Baptism--there are several of these in the movie
Organ music didn't sound like church music--more like Phantom of the Opera. Either that reflects his internal turmoil, or Norwegian church music is kinda messed up.
Forgiveness vs. Atonement--Yeah, that's an important distinction in the movie. One that struck me for some reason.
There are so many ways to end it, it really kept me guessing--and I'll add that all my endings were way darker and kind of fucked up. I liked the ending they used, though, and it once again proves to me I shouldn't make movies, because I'd make movies to piss people off.

And then I saw a French film, 35 SHOTS OF RUM. It seems like every festival has one of these--a challenging film, with fully real and complex characters, which challenge your preconceived notion...and which plays way too late in the festival for me to keep my attention up. I remember there was lots of drinking, and a guy got run over by a train. Or rather, a headless body was found on the train tracks (one main character is the train conductor), an apparent suicide (or maybe I'm making that up). Mostly I dozed off and was completely lost. Sorry for the cop-out, but that's the honest truth.

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