Fooled you, Cinequest didn't end on closing night. We had a post-ultimate day. That's right, closing night was Saturday but they added another day for encore screenings of the award winners. I caught two movies and then the VIP Oscar party.
First up, LOST PERSONS AREA, A slowly beautiful family drama. To explain how great this movie is, all I should have to do is say that it was 2 weeks since I had anything approaching a good night's sleep, I had been up until 3 am the night before, and I only had 1 cup of coffee (at the VIP lounge) and didn't nod off or reach for caffeine for the whole movie. There are much faster paced movies where I was taking 5 minute naps by the end of the festival, but this one captured my interest perfectly. In the middle of nowhere (according to the program notes, in Belgium) big, imposing Marcus lives maintaining high tension power line towers. He lives there with his wife Bettina and adorable daughter Tessa. While he works high up in the dangerous world of the towers, Bettina runs the local cantina, and Tessa...well, she occasionally makes it to school, but mostly she wanders off by herself, and collects and organizes random bits of stuff she picks up. That's actually one of the most mesmerizing parts of the movie, probably because I did a lot of that as a kid (my coin-stacking architecture was legendary). I always assumed I did it because I was bored, but seeing it again (and especially the ending which I won't spoil) now I see it as a way to understand and/or control your small part of the world. It's hard to write up what is so wonderful about the movie. I've heard it said over and over again throughout the festival that LOST PERSONS AREA is either 'too slow' or 'the slowest movie you'll ever love.' Put me firmly in the latter camp.
And then I saw what is really, truly my last Cinequest 20 film: APPLAUSE. It's a movie that's all about a Tour de Force performance by Paprika Steen. She plays Thea, a boozing, obnoxious, famous actress. In the play within a movie, she plays a reflection of herself--a forlorn alcoholic woman who has lost her husband. In real life, not only has she lost her husband, but she's lost the custody of her two little sons. She wants nothing more than to get them back, although she's at her best playing with her sons as equals rather than being a mother. You know, that was another theme of the festival--childish adults, or adults who have a hard time being traditional adults. Thea is not the type of person I'd want to meet, but Paprika plays her with such a fearlessness that I'm in awe.
And that's really the last movie I saw in Cinequest.
But the partying wasn't quite over. There was still a VIP Oscar party. Great food, lots of free drink, and a bunch of my Cinequest buddies making snarky comments. By the end, we devolved into coming up with porn parody titles of the nominees, and we were very happy that the female ejaculation movie THE SQUIRT LOCKER beat out the cockney prostitution epic 'AVE A TART.
And I think that shall be the last thought I leave you with for Cinequest 20.
Total Running Time: 194 minutes
My Total Minutes: 176,773