Saturday, June 10, 2017

Jason goes to Docfest--Day 7

Two more shows on Tuesday, starting with the shorts program Bay Area Voices. Hooray for local filmmakers!
ARRESTED (AGAIN): Karen Topakian, protester extraordinaire, talks about her life and many, many arrests.
BUMP AND SPIKE: The brief period of professional volleyball with the IPVA. Founded by Hollywood moguls, featuring the skill and athleticism of a post-NBA Wilt Chamberlain, it was an incredible party for 1 year. Then collapsed amidst a pot smuggling scandal by the owners of the Denver team.
THE EXTRACTIGATORS: French broom infests the hillsides of Marin County, choking out the other plant life. A small group mostly elderly residents get together once a week and pull up as much as they can. They're the small time heroes the community needs.
EYE, CAMERA: As in a prosthetic eye, with an tiny camera inside. The result of a horrific accident becomes an adventure in wearable tech.
NO VACANCY: It was already hard enough for artists to afford rent in the Bay Area. Then the Ghost Ship fire...
VIRTUAL REALITY: A TECH UPRISING: A brief exploration of what some people believe is the future of entertainment.
VOICES FROM THE KAW THOO LEI: With over 10,000 photos fading in and out over each other, it creates an abstract visual to focus your rational mind on the words of Karen People of Burma, whose homeland has suffered from a civil war that's been going on for over six decades without many people taking much notice.
WHO KILLED PARK MERCED?: An investigation into just one example of the SF Bay Area housing crisis. Well before most people were talking about the general housing crisis, the Park Merced community was told they were getting evicted and their homes would be torn down for a new development. A harbinger of things to come, if we don't get some solid housing policy.

Then for the next show, I traveled to Australia by way of Finland. Or at least two Finnish girls who need work, and get worked over at HOTEL COOLGARDIE. Lina and Steph are traveling though Australia. They just got there from Bali, where their credit cards were stolen. So, they're keeping their travels going, but they need some work. And the employment office has set them up to be barmaids in a pub in Coolgardie, a tiny dot on the map near a mining town in the outback. And you meet the locals and immediately realize you're just watching in horror and waiting until one or both of them get raped. Not that the guys are violent or criminal-looking, but they definitely objectify women, they're all trying to get to the "fresh meat" (a direct quote from the movie.) They don't give off an overtly threatening 'I will knock you out, drag you into the bushes, and have my way' vibe, but definitely a 'I will get you drunk and refuse to leave your apartment no matter how much you insist' vibe. And I guess I shouldn't spoil anything, but it is pretty terrible the...endurance test these girls are put through (one far more than the other.) Oh, and I learned that the Finns have a word--morkkis--that translates to "drinker's remorse" but is described in the movie as that feeling the morning after drinking a lot when you don't quite remember what happened but you want to dig a hole in the ground and bury yourself.

Lest you think this is just some sort of misogynistic horror show, there are many excellent qualities to this film. It's well shot, and most of the locals tend more to the crude-and-don't-know-how-to-talk-to-women personality than rapists. Or there's their boss, who isn't sexually abusive so much as ridiculing their bartending abilities...which are kind of shitty. Early on he does say that if they're gorgeous they can make up for it, but if they're average looking they better have a lot of experience and be excellent bartenders. Well, in my opinion they're pretty enough, but not good enough bartenders.

But the best part of the movie is Can Man (I didn't realize until the end of the film that his real name wasn't actually Canman, they just call him that because he takes all the empty cans to the recycling center for a little extra beer money.) He's the ugliest guy there. I don't know if he lived in his car but his dogs definitely did, so when he takes the girls for a ride the smell is overwhelming and ends with a bit of vomiting. But he's also patient with the girls, helps them in the bar, tells them where and how to get the drinks, and is never rude to them. He ends up being the sweetest, nicest guy in the film (made me root that he'd reunite with his estranged daughter.) So there's about 10% of a lesson about not judging a book by its cover. But it's kind of overshadowed by the lesson about beware of obvious rape traps, because they often lead to someone getting raped.

Total Running Time: 171 minutes
My Total Minutes: 429,762

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