Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jason goes to Docfest--Day 14

It just keeps going, and going, and going...but the end is in sight. In fact, it is now Sunday morning, last day of Docfest in Santa Cruz, and then it'll all be over but the writing--which I'm way behind on. Anyway, here's what I say last Wednesday:

First up was the short, THE DUDE about Jeffrey Dowd, the real-life inspiration behind The Dude in THE BIG LEBOWSKI. I had known a bit about him, his connection to the Coens, etc. One thing I had never thought about was that the Seattle Seven (The Dude and six other guys) were a real group. So now I have a plan for Lebowski Fest SF--get 5 friends together, put on name tags of the real guys (other than Dowd) and see if anyone can recognize us as the "six other guys" in the Seattle Seven.

And that short was  the lead-in to the feature, COMPLAINTS CHOIR, directed by Ada Bligaard Søby (who also directed PETEY AND GINGER.)  An odd idea by a couple of Finnish artists--to travel the world, gather complaints, and put together local choirs to sing those complaints. A way to learn what the average person is complaining about, and to express it with creativity and humor. We follow them as they put together two complaints choirs--one in Chicago, one in Singapore. Very interesting different dynamics. In America, you're free to complain about anything. And from what I've heard, there's plenty to complain about in Chicago. But this sort of project mostly attracts well-off, white, NPR-listening liberals. And the complaints aren't about crime, drugs, or poverty. Instead they're about parking, how nobody reads, how nobody is doing anything about global warming, etc. In Singapore, the complaints are more along the lines of people falling asleep on the bus and resting on your shoulder. But the interesting dynamic is just getting permission to perform. They have a sort of "Speaker's Corner"--right by the police station. So it's convenient to get a permit to speak there, right? Well, it goes from censoring what you can complain about, to who can complain (only native, ethnic Singaporean, no Malaysian immigrants) to...well they cancel all performances entirely. Oops, sorry for the spoiler. But if you're mad about that, you know how you can complain...?

And then the second show of the night was TRAINS OF THOUGHT. Now I have to admit I had a bit to drink and didn't quite stay 100% awake through the whole movie. But when I was awake, the footage of subways all over the world, the sweeping, rushing P.O.V. shots of the tracks...was just gorgeous. The cinematography was great, the soundtrack was engaging, and when I was awake and paying attention, the commentary from the riders was kinda fascinating. In fact, it's one of those movies that I'm sure is best appreciated fully awake, but actually passing in and out of consciousness while experiencing this is pretty fuckin' cool, too.

Total Running Time: 157 minutes
My Total Minutes: 331,979

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