Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 8

Another night, another bout of binge drinking stimulating and enjoyable Soiree (this time at The Loft) meeting awesome filmmakers, and then another two movies. By the way, I made a drinking-related resolution/experiment to start the year. I may have to officially suspend it this week to better fulfill my drink-with-a-filmmaker-and-I-have-to-see-her/his-movie rule. But kudos to Mike Gendemenico for calling it immediately. You know me...too well....

Anyway, after just a few drinks I was off to the Camera Cinemas (BTW, big thanks to them for supporting Cinequest from the very beginning) for AGNUS DEI, a sort of modern Oedipus story set in the Kosovo war, and based on a true story. Peter is generally a good guy. He was a teacher. He took care of his mother, Mary. He defended her against her drunken lout of a husband, who he thinks is his father (oops, spoiler! But that's in the program guide so it's not too much of a spoiler.) Then all that war shit started. Suddenly Serbians and Albanians hate each other. For example, Peter's mother (a Serb) is not welcome anywhere near her lover (an Albanian.) And even though Peter tries to escape to Turkey, he is conscripted. And he becomes quite a good that he's great at leading massacres of civilian villages. And that, naturally, wears on him. In an attempt to reclaim a little freakin' humanity, he saves a condemned Albanian girl, who happens to be named Mary just like his mother. And...I've already given away too much plot. It takes a little bit of setup time before it gets going (I'll admit I was a bit lost for the first 15-20 minutes), but when it does it's a well made movie with an engaging plot and good dramatic twists.

AGNUS DEI plays again Thu, 3/7 8:45 PM

And then, for the first time in this year's festival, I had a real dinner. I had enough time to run over to La Victoria to get a burrito with their famous orange sauce. I hesitate to mention them because they aren't officially one of the Cinequest Dining Sponsors, but they are damn good and I couldn't go too long without that orange sauce.

And then I caught the Belgian drama, OFFLINE. Rudy (Wim Willaert from EX DRUMMER) is recently out of prison. He's trying to get his life back on track, with the help of his friend Rachid. Rachid was in jail with him but has things going okay now. He has a family and kids--kids Rudy is really good with, he makes a fine baby sitter. That is, until he puts them to bed and immediately goes to the computer and looks up a pornographic webcam site. He finds one girl in particular, and starts chatting with her. As their relationship develops, and we slowly learn more about his past and why he was in prison, it becomes a tense tale of the nature (and limits) of forgiveness and how the past can never really leave you. The movie is definitely from Rudy's point of view, so as we see all these people from his past treat him so terribly (his ex-wife won't speak to him and threatens to call the cops when he comes by, the gang at the bar tease him and when he reacts they beat the crap out of him, etc.) we sympathize with him. But when you eventually learn why he's in prison...well, his life is still kind of hellish, and it's pretty much all his fault. But I, at least, still wanted him to get some forgiveness. Because if he can be forgiven, pretty much anyone can. Great story, great characters, good slow reveal of information that really makes you think.

OFFLINE plays again Thu, 3/7 9:15 PM

Total Running Time: 221 minutes
My Total Minutes: 319,509

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