Two movies to start the first "full" day of the festival in style. First with Laughs, and then with Thrills.
First, the laughs with I AM A DIRECTOR, a delightful and hilarious mockumentary from Puerto Rico, following the adventures of Carlos (Carlos Rivera Marchand) as he tries to make his Hollywood-style movie in Puerto Rico. Along to help him is his friend and producer Joa (Joa Tous). Y'know, everyone uses their own name in the movie, so I don't have to keep crediting them. Even Jacobo Morales (Puerto Rico's highest regarded filmmaker and the only one to make a film nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture) shows up as himself giving Carlos advice. That advice--to not worry about "Hollywood style" and just make a film with a good story--falls on totally deaf ears. In fact, Carlos has no idea what his movie is about, and he'll get around to writing the script soon. He just knows he wants it to look like THE MATRIX and it has to be in English--all the best movies are in English (for the record, 90% of this movie is in Spanish.) Well, without giving too much away, what his movie (and this movie) is all about at the heart is his relationship with Joa. That might be a little spoiler-y, but it's pretty clear early on that they are (or should be) a little more than friends. But there are some very funny twists and turns along the way, and stick through the credits for some extra laughs.
I AM A DIRECTOR plays again tonight--Thursday, February 28th at 9:30 pm and Monday, March 4th at 4:00 pm.
This also played with the short film PEACE, from Cinequest's Picture the Possibilities project. A movie about kids in East Palo Alto who've lived with violence their whole life and an inspirational poem about peace. Very nice movie, but thematically a little mismatched with a comedy.
Then I sauntered over to the California for the Chinese action flick AN INACCURATE MEMOIR. If you weren't there (and judging by the sparse crowd, too many of you weren't there) you missed a heaping helping of awesome drizzled in pure awesome-sauce. It was introduced as Tarantino-esque (and director Yang Shupeng did say he dreams of making movies as good at Tarantino's), but I saw it as more influenced by the same combination of Westerns and Hong Kong action flicks that Tarantino draws inspiration from (i.e., less of a direct Tarantino descendant, but definitely sharing common ancestors with him.) In any case, it opens with a voice over about a failed attack on the Japanese in an occupied city (I want to say Taiping, but I'm not 100% sure of that.) We then transition to a daring and successful jailbreak (of their leader, Fang) by a team of bandits. Soon the bandits kidnap a man named Gao, who refuses to write a ransom letter and is almost killed. But instead, he wins the heart of the Fang's sister and soon enough becomes part of the gang. And, eventually, convinces them to use their skills for good--not just robbing people but attacking the Japanese. Exciting action, well crafted characters, themes of loyalty, brotherhood, love, and revenge. All the good things you want from great movies like this.
AN INACCURATE MEMOIR plays again today--Thursday, February 28th at 4:00 pm and Thursday, March 7th at 9:45 pm.
Oh, and according to the program guide it was supposed to play with the short KILL NO EVIL. It didn't, but it's available on Youtube. Pretty cool, and I would totally approve of that playing in front of any movie.
Total Running Time: 194 minutes
My Total Minutes: 317,670