Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jason goes to SFIFF--Day 9

Stop me if you've heard this one: Two more movies last night...

First up, and excellent Ozarks crime and family drama, WINTER'S BONE. 17 year old Ree Dolly (the excellent Jennifer Lawrence) is the de facto head of her household. Her mom is ill and her dad--a notorious meth cook--is missing. And that's her biggest problem. See, he's due in court and put their house up for a bail bond. If he doesn't show up in one week she, her mom, and her two younger siblings are homeless. Between teaching them to hunt, clean, and cook squirrel and applying for the Army (presumably at one point her way out) she navigates a dangerous clan of meth dealers to either find her dad or prove he's dead (without getting killed herself). Both hindering and helping her is her uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes in a role both menacing and tragic), who warns her that she's likely to get herself killed (the first of many such warnings). A tense drama where the danger is very real and omnipresent, but Ree's cool head, though full of doubt and fear, steers her true.

The local culture is very important in this film, and it's helpful to know it was shot on location (in Missouri) with the help of locals. In most movies like this from "redneck/white trash" country, I'm afraid I'm buying into ugly stereotypes. The Q&A was very helpful in assuring me that the portrayals were accurate. And in fairness, for as much squirrel-eating and meth abuse, there were also helpful neighbors helping out a family in need.

So the next movie couldn't be more different. Hirokazu Kore-eda's AIR DOLL is the funny tale of a blow-up doll come to life (and becomes Korean actress Bae Doo-na). Employing some excellent physical humor, she learns her way around Tokyo, gets a job in a video store, falls in love with her co-worker (who claims to also be an air doll), and dashes off lines like "Because I had a heart, I was heartbroken." She also nearly dies from a cut when all the air leaks out, but luckily a piece of tape and her co-worker/love's breath saves her. Later that scene is mirrored with less positive results. I suppose I could wax philosophical about the contrasts between her physical emptiness (but emotional fullness) and the emotional emptiness of those around her. But instead I'll just focus on how it made me laugh. It's very, very funny.

And that was the second Friday at SFIFF

Total Running Time: 216 minutes
My Total Minutes: 183,454

No comments: