Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jason goes to Indiefest--The Penultimate Day

I like the word penultimate. Two more movies:

First up, an Iranian film, NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS. It's somewhat misleadingly billed as a documentary. In fact, it's a reenactment of real events, starring the real people it happened to. Negar and Ashkan are a musical duo who were recently released from prison. Their music (alternative rock) is banned by the authorities, so they play in hidden underground clubs while working to put a band together. Since they can't play in Iran, they have a grand plan to play in London. All they need is money, passports, and the rest of a band. Not so easy. In fact, it seems the easiest part is finding other underground musicians to play with them. The movie features performances by a half dozen outlawed Iranian musicians, and is really half plot and half a series of music videos. And it's an exciting look into the lives and culture that we never see--young people in Iran trying to defy the authorities and remake the world. And, in fact, the older generations who love them for it. The grandmother who loves alternative rock and wants to go to London to see them is pretty amusing.

And while the Persian Cats never quite made it to London (oops, spoiler alert), the night ended in England with AT THE FOOT OF A TREE. A tale of revenge, violence, and hiding from the cops. One night, a young boy goes and gets revenge on members of his extended families (who are bullies, although their violence is never really shown, just talked about). They don't show you what he did, and there's just lots of yelling about it. His big brother decides to hid him in the attic until it all blows over. The whole story is told non-linearly, starting with the immediate aftermath and working back to the reasons behind his actions and culminating with what he actually did. Spoiler alert (highlight to read): It was murder. But I don't know anyone who didn't think that immediately. So I really don't understand the out-of-order sequence and trying to keep that a secret, other than it drags out the movie for a while. But really, for what's in there, it would've worked better as a 20-40 minute short.

Oh yeah, and there was a performance by My Favourite Things, who did the soundtrack, before the film. They were pretty cool.

Total Running Time: 185 minutes
My Total Minutes: 171,956

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