Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jason goes to Indiefest--it's almost over

In fact, the penultimate night. Two more programs, a pair of music docs and an animated short, here we go:

First up was TOUMAST: GUITARS AND KALASHNIKOVS. It starts very strong, giving a brief history of the last century for the Toureg people. Nomads of Northern Africa, who we're oppressed by the French and the various post WWII nations that popped up (especially Niger). The one nation that sorta welcomed them was Libya, in that Qaddafi invited them to join the military and fight and die for him. We then meet Moussa Ag Keina, a former Toureg soldier and current musician, who performs in Paris and travels back to the Toureg nomadic territory (now overrun by uranium mines) to lobby for his people. As he says, he has put down his Kalashnikov and now lets his music talk. There's a great, compelling story here, but unfortunately the movie becomes too fragmented to tell it well. The first 20 minutes or so was great, the end (with a concert including electric guitar for the Toureg) was great, in between I had trouble focusing. And there wasn't really enough music. The music was really cool, but there was never really a complete song. It could be much better as a concert film, with complete songs interspersed with interviews giving the background and current state of the Toureg struggle.

Then the next program started with the short MARGARET'S MOUNTAIN. A cut-out animated exploration of the importance of music, poetry, love, and freedom on a woman's life. And how the seasons change because of Leonard Cohen's tears.

And finally, SUPERSTONIC SOUND: THE REBEL DREAD was a documentary about Don Letts. He's the guy who brought Reggae beats and bass lines to the British punk scene, and he narrates, talking about life growing up in pretty much the first generation of British blacks. He riffs on what his parents brought from Jamaica, and what he's passing down to his son (who is also in music). It's short (a lean 45 minutes running time) and breezy, like spending a little time hanging out with the Mr. Letts, with his music constantly but unobtrusively in the background, just setting the style. And it turns out he's a pretty cool guy to hang out with.

And that's Wednesday at Indiefest. One night left, one last film and maybe a repeat of THE LAST CIRCUS, if I feel up to it.

Total Running Time: 146 minutes
My Total Minutes: 223,979

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