Monday, November 8, 2010

Jason goes to the 3rd i South Asian Film Festival

Once again, I've fallen a week behind on my updates. Sorry this will be kind of brief.

I'm embarrassed to say this is my first time at this film fest. Although I've seen several of their co-presentations at SFIAAFF, I was, before last Friday night, a virgin to 3rd i proper.

I am pleased to say I started my 3rd i experience with a truly wonderful night. Which just makes me more embarrassed to say this is the only night I'll spend at the festival this year. The fall calendar for film fests in the Bay Area is too crowded, but maybe next year I'll carve out a niche for 3rd i.

Anyway, 3 movies to go with the 3 eyes.

First up, a slapstick British terrorism comedy, FOUR LIONS. A group of British Muslim Jihadi-wannabes plot all sorts of terror. A couple of them travel to a training camp, where they accidentally blow up the wrong people. Back home, one (the white guy) has a brilliant plan to blow up...the biggest mosque in London. The logic (if you can use the word) is that an attack on a mosque will make moderate Muslims more militant. Of course, that doesn't exactly work if you also make a video taking credit. It all ends in a tragically slapstick marathon race with them wearing bulky costumes to cover up the explosives. Very funny. In fact, I suppose it's one Lion better than the English football team (I don't know if there's supposed to be a connection, but they're the Three Lions).

Next up, SLACKISTAN. As the title suggest, it's like SLACKERS but set in Pakistan. And that pretty much sums it up. Well made, real, and funny. It introduces us to the prosperous youth in Islamabad, a group who speak fluent English, wear trendy clothes and dine at trendy cafes. If it weren't for the occasional news report (on, e.g., the Taliban), you'd think they were American. And that's the value of the movie--breaking down the stereotypes we see on the news and showing that everyone is really in the same business of living life, with the same goals, humor, and frustrations.

And finally, GANDU (ASSHOLE). This is quite an experience. Gandu is a Bengali rapper in India who spends his time (when he's not rapping) either getting high, masturbating, or...well, not much else. Getting into trouble, I guess. After a bit of a rocky meeting with Ricksha, a crazy Bruce Lee fan who pulls...a rickshaw, they eventually become friends. And the movie becomes kinda gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that. More drugs, more insanity, then the credit rolls...and there's at least another half hour, now in color (oh yeah, it was black and white up until then) and borderline pornographic. Awesome!

Total Running Time: 276 minutes
My Total Minutes: 214,815

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