We jump right into the first weekend.
First up was a special benefit show for the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls with a few short shorts and then the medium short documentary SKATER 26. I have seen a number of Roller Derby movies in the past few years. Other than Drew Barrymore's directorial effort in the gleeful WHIP IT, probably the biggest highlight has been HELL ON WHEELS (Docfest '07). After any of these Roller Derby movies, I have pretty much the same reaction: I should catch a Roller Derby match live. Who knows, maybe this time I really will. The other reaction I always have is "Why hasn't anybody figured out how to film this sport so that you can follow the action?" For every sport there is a science to filming it so the audience can follow the flow of the action. E.g., cutting from long establishing shots to closer action shots, only showing reaction shots from the bench when there's a lull in play. Now maybe I'm criticizing this movie for not doing something it never intended to do, but it seems they were much more interested in using shaky, fast-cutting handheld shots that convey the emotion but none of the information (this is supported by the fact that they drowned out the commentary with dramatic music.) I'll give the filmmakers credit for showing the dedication and athleticism of all the skaters, not just skater 26 (aka 'Chantilly Mace,' birth name not revealed). I just wish someone would make the effort to figure out how to film and broadcast a whole match.
Since the film was pretty short, there was plenty of time for the after party. Cake, food, and free booze at 518 Valencia, while hanging out and chatting with my friends and the rest of the audience. Cool!
So I had a few beers at the party, and SNOWTOWN was a hell of a movie to watch while sobering up. It's based on the true story of Australia's worst serial killer, and it's an unflinching portrait of Australian white trash, complete with sexual abuse, drugs, vandalism, animal cruelty, torture, and eventually death. John becomes a sort of father figure to three boys who were molested and photographed naked by a neighbor. At first he seems to just offer a strong male authority figure who can protect them. He leads them in petty acts of revenge like writing, "Fag" on the guys house. And then it gets a bit sicker when he shops up a kangaroo, mushes the bits around, and tosses them on the door. Pretty soon it becomes clear that his bullying insistence on the kids (one in particular) participating in revenge is just messing them up more. And that's before we get to the killing. It's a stark, uncompromising, and realistic portrayal that's not for the squeamish. It's also longer than the 90 minutes running time listed in the program--more like 2 hours. And, if it sound like your cup of tea (you sick fuck!) it plays again Wednesday the 15th at 9:30.
And then the late show was GANDU, which I had seen a year and a half ago at 3rd I. Here's what I wrote then:
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!Hmmm...that seems pretty damn spoiler-y. Sorry about that. Also, it felt...different this time. I mean, the story, the rapping, the pornographic sex is still there, but maybe it was edited slightly, I just can't put my finger on exactly how. In any case, it plays again Thursday the 16th at 7:15.
Total Running Time: 225 minutes
My Total Minutes: 264,325