Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jason goes to Indiefest--The Penultimate Night

Last Wednesday, a shorts block and a feature.

Shorts 4: Based on a True Story. Not necessarily documentaries, but "non-fictionish" as the program notes say.
11-MINUTE MILE: A businessman in the Boston airport, calling his friend to give him grief about his time in the marathon. And the grief turns around when the news reports the bombing at the finish line, and he frantically tries to find out if his friend is okay.
BREAKING IN: A black guy walking down the street, minding his own business, is hassled by the NYPD. That's just part of getting "broken in."
CAB CITY: Ride-alongs with two different SF taxi drivers. The sweet old French lady who is practically a historian of the city. The brash, aggressive driver who is always ready to yell "criminal!" to Uber/Lyft/Sidecar drivers while he speeds off without his seatbelt. Of course, ride-sharing companies are a big topic of discussion, and the film also interviews several passengers about their opinions of them. And there's even a brief ride-along with an Uber driver.
DOCUMENTERS: A story of the citizen journalists of Syria, the only ones who can get the real stories out, since foreign journalists are banned and state-run TV is lies.
ELGIN PARK: Michael Paul Smith has been many things, but most recently he's an artist and model-maker, famous for creating entire realistic worlds of model vintage cars. Really stunningly realistic.
HEIRLOOM: Part road trip, part home movie, Malia Bruker travels with her parents as they return to the small rural community where she grew up, and examine inter-generational notions of hope, idealism, values, nature, family, etc.
TRASHCANLAND: A profile of DJ Dan Cashman, janitor and tumblr star.

And then the feature, BLACK MOUNTAIN SIDE. It draws immediate comparisons to THE THING, and scientists in a frozen arctic land come across a major archaeological find and start to suffer from strange...happenings. Paranoia, self-abuse (and not the good kind) mutilations, and murder. But with a wildly inconsistent tone that left the audience transfixed at some moments and howling with laughter at other and me wondering if that was all intentional. Like when a doctor is talking about internal bleeding when staunching an obviously externally bleeding wound. It never really answers what's going on, and that clearly is intentional, to confound and amaze the audience with mysteries upon mysteries. I'm just not sure if this was ever supposed to be a comedy, and if so whether the audience was laughing at the right parts. It was, however, never boring.

Total Running Time: 193 minutes
My Total Minutes: 384,530

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