Friday, March 3, 2017

Jason goes to Cinequest--Day 3

Once again in Redwood City. Once again pretty sparse crowds, but it might be picking up a bit. Here's hoping for a good weekend there, with the interest continuing on through next week.

I saw an Australian film and then a Canadian film. With the two Canadian films from yesterday, my theme so far is "people who speak English, but with funny accents."

The Australian film was WHAT IF IT WORKS? Adrian is an obsessive-compulsive germophobe. He washes things all the time--even things that don't really need all that much soap and water--like the interior of his car. Oh, and he loves cars and driving fast. And he's a genius, but his mental illness is preventing him from completing his post-doc work. He also obsesses over his ex-girlfriend, and the guilt he has that his OCD actually injured her, leading to their breakup. Anyway, Adrian meets Grace, a young, vibrant street artist who suffers from dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality.) And there are movies where crazy meets crazy and it's cute and romantic and reminds us that there's love for everyone. But that's not quite this movie. I mean, that's a part of it, but the strength of the film is that it doesn't sugarcoat it all. Adrian doesn't stop having OCD just because he falls for Grace. And Grace's other identities don't go away or integrate together just because of Adrian. To a large extent this isn't a "love conquers all" movie--this is a movie that, for all it's sweet tender moments, never loses sight of the fact that mental illness is terrible and it takes a lot more than love to deal with it. In the Q&A afterwards, director Romi Trower revealed that she has a personal, family connection with mental illness, and that realness comes through in the film. Excellently made, the acting is fantastic, with compelling characters who are shown with affection, but not through rose-colored glasses.

WHAT IF IT WORKS? plays again several times:
 Fri, Mar 3 4:00 PM in Redwood City
Sat, Mar 4 2:45 PM in Santana Row
Mon, Mar 6 4:30 PM at the Hammer Theatre in Downtown San Jose
Fri, Mar 10 12:00 PM in Redwood City

And then to Toronto, for some absurdist comedy with THE DEATH (AND LIFE) OF CARL NAARDLINGER. Carl Naardlinger is an IT specialist. He leads a pretty boring life, dreaming of adventure. Carl Naardlinger is also a baker, but he's a different Carl Naardlinger. When the baker Carl Naardlinger goes missing, the Missing Persons person erroneously knocks on IT Carl Naardlinger's door, setting off a bizarre series of incredible coincidences. This includes a dead neighbor who secretly told his family how great the Naardlingers were and how much they took care of him. And mysterious luggage showing up. And Carl Naardlinger's exact doppleganger. Are these all just ridiculous coincidences? Is there someone controlling all of this? Is fate real? Or is life just funny sometimes? And how many times can I use the name Naardlinger in this review? Naardlinger, Naardlinger, Naardlinger. It's very funny, and a fun reminder that the most important thing in life is to not take it too seriously.

THE DEATH (AND LIFE) OF CARL NAARDLINGER plays again several times:
Sat, Mar 4 10:30 AM at Santana Row
Tue, Mar 7 6:45 PM in Redwood City
Thu, Mar 9 9:30 PM at the Hammer Theatre

Total Running Time: 190 minutes
My Total Minutes: 419,997

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