Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jason goes to Jewfest North--Day 2

I just saw 2 movies last night (Saturday.) Here we go:

First up was THE DAY I SAW YOUR HEART, a French comedy starring Melanie Laurent and Michael Blanc as daughter and father Justine and Eli Dhrey, respectively. Justine already has one sister, and surprisingly she's about to get another sibling. But Eli is more interested in the technology of 3-D ultrasound than the miracle of life in his wife's womb. That's just the sort of selfish eccentric Eli is, and of course that has a tendency to ruin the lives around him. Justine is just as eccentric, and expresses that through massively unethical/illegal artistic uses of the x-ray machines where she works as a technologist. Actually, as a former medical imaging manufacturer, I couldn't help but think about how much trouble she would be in if she did that in real life. It's one thing to x-ray objects, even animals, but to give multiple doses of ionizing radiation to humans just for an art project...she could end up in jail for that.

But I digress. Given that they're both selfish eccentrics, it's a surprise Justine and Eli don't get along that well. In fact, Eli seems to get along better with Justine's ex-boyfriends than he does with her. Perhaps that's all part of being destructively selfish. But in bittersweet French comedy fashion, they do find a connection in the end.

And the late show of the night was a modern Israeli noir film, NAOMI. Melanie Peres is beautiful as the too-young wife of a famous physics professor Ilan Ben-Natan (like, actually famous--he's on TV.) But the brilliant physicist is perhaps too doting and paranoid of a husband. When she's not home until late and has left her cell phone at home he gets a little worried. And the next day, his worries are confirmed. But I don't want to give away spoilers, so I'll leave the plot there. I will say that the characters are well drawn, and the moral crises and twists kept me interested the whole time, even when the pace kind of lagged and the digital cinematography was kind of on the cheap/indie side (normally I don't gripe about digital movies, even when the resolution is sub-optimal. But the combination of seeing beautiful film/digital prints recently at the silent film festival and having the word "noir" summon images of black and white film from the 50's and cinematography heavy on the shadows...well, it made me notice how this film wasn't shot like that.)

Anyway, at least the characters were excellent. I especially liked the very Jewish touch of Ilan's number one confidant being his mother (his number two is his childhood friend Anton, who is now a police officer.)

And that was my second day at Jewfest North 2012. We're just getting started.

Total Running Time: 200 minutes
My Total Minutes: 292,229

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