First up was the shorts program Innocence Bursting. I.e., the coming-of-age shorts.
88 MILES TO MOSCOW: A girl tells her mother the story of riding the train home with her ex-con father. But through flashbacks we see what she lies about. I have to say, this film's trailer has played over and over again in the festival, and every time it bothered me when she tells about her father "doing a crossword puzzle" when in fact the image shows a word search. In context, with all the lying, it plays much better.
PARETO PRINCIPLE: Jon and Chris are poor kids working in a shitty restaurant. And then they find a bag of money in the trash. But should they turn it in? Will taking it get them in trouble with whoever owns it? And isn't that likely to be bad, bad men? The situation puts their friendship to the test in an ultimate "Mo' money, mo' problems" scenario.
WORLDS WE CREATED: Kids playing, fantasy worlds of the wild west, WWII, and the space race. But reality can't be avoided forever. It would make an excellent companion piece to I DECLARE WAR.
THE RUNNER: A 10 year-old boy rushes a bag of money to his mother to pay for her surgery. But how he got that money will have a direct impact on the situation, leading to a little semi-instant karma.
MY NAME IS YOUR FIRST LOVE: A little boy does gardening work for the 20-something lady next door, who seems likely to be a total slut. Ahh...the first awkward, doomed-to-failure crushes.
LOS AVIONS QUE SE CAEN (FALLING PLANES): Hugo is a Cuban kid who loves baseball and dreams of being a star. Stardom in Cuba will only get you so far, though. But he can't fly away because what if the plane falls?
And next up was more shorts, A Bouquet of Pleasures and Pain--shorts about love.
YOUR PLACE OR MINE: The right choice will determine if the relationship lasts forever or fails right away.
JOSEPHINE AND THE ROACH: You know your husband is awful when you'd rather do it with a roach. Notice how I conscientiously avoided making a "cock"-roach joke. I'm so freakin' mature!
SUBWAY SILK: Based on a poem by Dean Kostos, napping on the subway and the sound of silk in his dreams turns out to be two nylon backpacks rubbing against each other. But in the movie version, maybe there's still chance for romance.
PLEASE HANG UP AND TRY AGAIN: Bright lights and cellphone conversations about love, betrayal, and attempts for forgiveness. Beautiful and interesting, but the sound mix needs to be adjusted a bit to better understand the cell phone conversations. Too often it was drowned out by the music.
LOVE IN THERAPY: Older psychiatrist, younger man. Speaking of sound mix issues, the ending fireworks/music were so damn loud I nearly jumped out of my skin. Other than that, it was a fun idea. But age issues are simple--just calculate half the elder's age plus seven years to determine if the younger is above or below the 'too young' threshold. The fact that she didn't do that is proof (once again) that psychiatry is not a real science. Science can answer these questions easily and with no complications.
WINTER SHOWER: An octogenarian reunites with an old lover. Although I like to think that her lover has actually passed on and her journey is really her passing on as well, and their reunion is her version of heaven. Or not, maybe she literally goes on a trip to meet an old boyfriend.
VENA AMORIS: As if marriage isn't torture enough, the bachelor party when marrying a Russian mobster's daughter is really, really intense. But why all the darn singing? The gag worked pretty well, but then everyone sings for what seems like 10 more minutes. Very weird. You know, maybe he actually did die and he's secretly a fan of showtunes so that's his version of heaven.
Next up, an absolute treat--another contender for my 'reward for seeing everything'--THE STORY OF LUKE. Luke (Lou Taylor Pucci) is a young man with some form of autism--as his grandmother used to say he "defies medical classification." But his grandmother has passed away and his grandfather isn't doing too well, either. So he moves in with his aunt, uncle, and cousins--who are all shallow, horrible people who view him as a burden they just don't have time to deal with. But he's a man on a mission--on practically the last advice his grandfather gave him he wants to screw. But to do that he has to get a job, move out, and meet a nice girl with great tits. And so he sets out to do just that. And his quiet honesty is hilarious and disarming, changing the lives of everyone around him. Ultimately, the question of whether he'll get a job and/or a girlfriend isn't so important as how he makes everyone around him--his relatives, his co-workers (including a nastily acerbic Seth Green), even maybe his mother who abandoned him--better people.
And then I watched BLUE DREAM, by Gregory Hatanaka (MAD COWGIRL, UNTIL THE NIGHT.) James Duval plays Robert Harmon, a film critic who does a lot of drugs, has a lot of sex, and hurts a lot of people while witnessing the death of traditional media. Time and space are slippery, and it all feels like one big drug dream (it helps to know that Blue Dream is a type of marijuana. I had to Google that.) And maybe if I were high instead of just drunk, I could have gotten into it more. As it was, I can only say that my friend [name withheld to protect the barely innocent], who normally loves movies with lots of naked ladies in them, walked out because he was so bored. he really wanted to like the movie, but couldn't. I concur.
Then it was finally time for the midnight movie, starting with the short VENGEANCE DE LOS MUERTOS. Demolition derby, a burning paper skeleton, and more demolition derby as a son avenges his father's death.
And then...MANBORG, from the guys at Astron-6! Shot on video, extremely lo-fi, awful acting and cheesy green-screen effects. I.e., a ton of fun for a drunken midnight crowd! A soldier battles Count Draculon and his Nazis from Hell, is killed, and wakes up in a lab as Manborg! He teams up with #1 Man (the kung-fu master), Mina (a knife-wielding blue haired chick straight out of anime), Justice (Mina's brother...who is an Australian punk? Just go with it...) Lots of fighting...some of it even makes sense. And the jokes are exactly as stupid as the target audience. And I mean that as a compliment. I was kinda drunk so I don't remember precise examples, but several times I or a friend would lean in and say, 'and then they should do/say this...' and they did! This movie is why run-down neighborhood dive theaters must exist, and must be open at midnight. Because this movie just wouldn't work anywhere else. I can't imagine the hell that would be watching MANBORG at home, on DVD, alone,...and sober. Luckily I didn't have to do that.
And that was Indifest Saturday.
Total Running Time: 434 minutes
My Total Minutes: 315,812