Friday, April 29, 2011

Jason goes to SFIFF--Day 6

Two more movies:

First up, Catherine Breillat's THE SLEEPING BEAUTY. Fans of Breillat's highly sexual (borderline pornographic) earlier career (ROMANCE, FAT GIRL, BRIEF CROSSING, SEX IS COMEDY, THE LAST MISTRESS) may be surprised by her recent fascination with fairy tales, starting with BLUEBEARD a couple of years back. They'd also pick up on the overt sexuality in her take on fairy tales, and hence might be a little creeped out by the age of the characters. This is especially true of THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, her take on the classic fairy tale. In her telling, the good fairies are skinny dipping, and hence late to Anastasia's birth. The witch still curses her to death, but the fairies commute the sentence to sleep. Specifically, she'll sleep for 100 years, have vivid dreams, and age 10 years (from 6 to 16) during her sleep. Then rather than showing the handsome prince rescue her, she shows Anastasia's dream, and particularly (via dreams) her change from the tomboy who wanted to be a boy named Vladimir to a young woman in love with young, handsome Peter. I bet there's something allegorical to explicate in her specific dreams--boil ridden monsters, towns full of mannequins, a gypsy girlfriend, etc. But darned if I could unravel it. I get the distinct feeling that Breillat is doing something very interesting with her fairy tales (at the very least, she's playing up the extreme artificiality of them), but I don't think I quite get it.

And finally, the most eagerly anticipated film of the festival, Werner Herzog's CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS in 3D. In a cave in France, explorers discovered by far the earliest cave paintings ever, astounding images that track the contours of the cave. Herzog got special permission to film in the caves, and the images he brought back are breathtaking. He also interviews locals and scientists working there, and waxes philosophical about the meaning (and, what with Herzog being Herzog, you can't help but laugh a few times).

Let me just get this out of the way--it's a breathtakingly beautiful film, and my poor words can't convey that so just see it. Now the big question--is this finally the film that must be seen in 3D. I've said many times that I've yet to see the movie that must be seen in 3D (yes, including AVATAR, although I'd argue that doesn't have to be seen, period). That might have just changed. It's not a gimmick for throwing stuff at you, rather Herzog uses 3D as a portal to draw you in. And the contours of the cave are very, very important to understand what it must be like to stand there. I doubt it would be the same in 2D. My only hesitation comes from my scientist mindset. I feel I must do a control study:
  1. Watch it again in 2D, see if it loses something
  2. Watch it yet again in 3D to see if it loses something just from multiple viewings.
Hopefully there will be a theatre showing it in 2D so I can complete this experiment.

Total Running Time: 177 minutes
My Total Minutes: 233,673

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