Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 8

Another day, another 3 movies.

First up, we started with the short DAISY CUTTER, a girl living in a war torn region picks flowers, in what might be the most fucked-up short I've seen at Cinequest. Of course, I haven't seen the Mindbenders program yet.

And that was the lead in to THE BLIND, which will now be the movie I cite as an example of how I can like romantic movies (I have been accused of not liking romances). The opening voice over explains how Marcus and Kate are a great romantic couple. And what unfolds is then the slowest, most passionless story ever. Their lives fall apart, and they seemingly aren't meant for each other. But they are. They really, really are. Because in all relationships, one is meant to love, and one is meant to be loved, and they have the perfect love. If this isn't a joke, it's my favorite romance ever. If it is a joke, double that sentiment.

So then I actually had something very rare for me at Cinequest--a break. As in over an hour with no movie on my schedule. So I tried to see if I could crash the VIP Soiree. They've let lowly media people in before (and the press pass used to always include that), but no luck last night. Instead I stopped at House of Siam (part of the Cinequest Diner's Circle, so support them!) The garlic prawns were delicious.

And then I strolled back to the Camera 12 for NOBEL PRIZE WINNER, which after careful thought is my favorite of the festival so far. Joachim West is a talented writer, but unrecognized and not too confident. In fact, even though he's already spent the advance, is getting evicted, and his novel (10 years in the writing) is done, he doesn't send it to his publisher, he throws it in the trash. And goes off to be homeless...and fakes his own death. And then his publisher receives the manuscript...and loves it...and passes it off as the work of a famous writer who happens to have writer's block. And wacky hijinx ensue. A smart, funny, cynical as hell story of the gap between genius and recognition ("How can he be a genius if no one's heard of him?") Some might be a little put off by too many far-fetched coincidences. There's a line early on he says about coincidence, that I can't quite remember but seems meant to give the film leave to play about in coincidences as much as it wants. And I know for a fact that a lot of the audience was put off by the ending. I will try to avoid spoilers by speaking in generalities, but be warned anyway. For a long time there seems to be hope for a happy ending--the wicked will be punished and the good will triumph. But this isn't that kind of movie, it's cynical and a little mean. And when the audience realized at the ending exactly what kind of ending it would be, I heard palpable grumblings of disappointment and even anger. And I must admit I had the briefest flash of disbelief that they could actually end it like this. But that thought dissipated quickly and I embraced the cynical ending as the absolute intention of the film, and I loved it.

And then I saw perhaps the most challenging program in the festival, which started with the short SNOVI (DREAMS). Memories and dreams of war, a soldier haunted by his past, or a ghost dreaming of an alternate future. I don't really know, but it was well done.

And then I ended the night with NEW YORK DECALOGUE. I have no freakin' clue what to say about this movie. It's frustrating, it's beautiful, it's nearly dialog free, it's musically rich, it's boring, it's shocking. I was aggravated, I was bored, and I struggled (and briefly failed) to stay awake, and I'm afraid that might mean I'm not good enough to appreciate this movie. A series of vignettes show a window into the lives of various New Yorkers, leading up to a prologue that brings them all together (or as I tweeted, does the exact opposite. Yes, that's a spoiler, and it's in bad taste). I wish I loved this movie. I wish I hated this movie. But instead I'll be content to be enormously conflicted about this movie (and maybe try watching it again on a screener).

And that's the end of day 8, and SAMUEL BLEAK is still the worst thing I've ever seen at Cinequest.

Total Running Time: 265 minutes
My Total Minutes: 227,163


bitterchris said...

Nobel Prize Winner looked like it might've been like Roman De Gare, at least plot-wise. Seeing as I liked Roman De Gare, I guess I'm gonna try to get to this on Saturday.

Would you compare the two at all, or are they radically different?

puppymeat said...

I wouldn't compare them at all...because I haven't seen Roman De Gare. But it sounds like I should.

Given the plot, it would just be appropriate if the storyline was plagiarized.