Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jason goes to Docfest--The End

Finally, I can put Docfest 2014 to rest.

RICH HILL, about Rich Hill, Missouri starts with a kid (and I hate the term "white trash," but there's no better way to describe him) asserting that while people may look down on him and his friends, they're really good people. Then they spend a lot of the movie failing to prove that. I'm...really uncomfortable reviewing this. I wasn't the only one afterwards who was describing it as redneck-sploitation (or some variant on that.) But it's beautifully and...sympathetically shot, as far as that goes. I'm not sure it's supposed to be mocking or exploiting its subjects or if it's supposed to be making the audience think about their reactions--their own mocking or exploiting of them. And if it's the latter (it probably is) I'm not so sure it's successful. But it is interesting.

And finally, I ended the night, and the festival, with COWJEWS AND INDIANS. Okay, the full title (and best title in the festival) is COWJEWS AND INDIANS: HOW HITLER SCARED MY RELATIVES--AND I WOKE UP IN AN IROQUOIS LONGHOUSE WITH A PICTURE OF JESUS, REMINDING ME--FOR THE WRONG REASON--THAT I OWN THE MOHAWKS RENT. Whew. Director comedian Marc Halberstadt frames his little story around a campfire proposal to a group of skeptical Native Americans. Simply put, his Jewish ancestors were chased out of Germany. And they settled in America, on land that long ago belonged to the natives. There is a case for German reparations to displaced Jewish families. There is equally a claim to reparations for natives from the people living on their land. So...cut out the middle man, and have the Native Americans ask for reparations directly from the Germans. A plan so crazy it's bound to...okay, it won't work, but it can be funny and thought-provoking along the way. Oh, and that picture of Jesus in the title? Consider how a Middle Eastern Jew came to be depicted as a white Anglo-Saxon (sometimes even blond) and consider how Native Americans come to be depicted as caricatures on sports logos. Imagine, if you will, if Jesus was actually depicted as Jewish. As Woody Allen, maybe? Or, as Marc Halberstadt? Okay, I don't assume you know what he looks like, which is why I suggested Woody Allen. Anyway, this is a strange, funny movie with a pretty strong message. And if you're so inclined, there's even a link where you can pay Indians rent.

And that, finally, was the end of Docfest.

Total Running Time: 186 minutes
My Total Minutes: 366,858

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