Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Jason goes to SFFILM--Day 5

Well, the festival ended over 3 weeks ago, so I guess I better finish writing. Sunday, April 8th I had a prior commitment in the morning, so only 2 films that afternoon, and they were both pretty great.

THE THIRD MURDER is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest film, and it's a courtroom drama thriller...kind of. Actually, the case looks to be pretty straightforward. A wealthy factory owner is killed, Misumi (Koji Yakusho) confesses readily, and it all looks easily wrapped up. But his story keeps changing slightly, and a young defense attorney starts investigating. His job was supposed to be straightforward--present the best mitigating case to avoid the death penalty. But there might be evidence that Misumi is innocent, and is accepting being framed for some other reason. Why I say it's only "kinda" a courtroom thriller is because so little of it takes place in the courtroom. I mean, there are proceedings, filings, etc. But the whole point is that the courtroom is a lousy place to get to the truth. So it becomes a semi-surreal parody of courtroom drama, while still being a taut thriller about truth and justice (and how often they don't go hand in hand.)

And then... (STAR.) Actually, the title isn't a word, it's just a symbol of a star. And it's my favorite movie that I could never actually recommend to anyone. Not that I don't have friends who would like it, it's just that they don't need film recommendations, they're ambitious enough to seek out strange films themselves. And my friends who do need film recommendations...won't like this. It's a compiled film, and a work in progress (as long as people still make films with star fields in them, director Johann Lurf will continue adding to this film.) And it's simply images from films of star fields and nothing else. It spans the history of film from silents by Georges Melies to very recent works. And he leaves the soundtrack in (at least once he gets out the silent era) but will cut out everything that has something other than stars. E.g., if the credits of a film play over a scene of stars, he'll leave the music in but cut out every frame that has words on screen. So you get to hear chopped up versions of both the STAR WARS and STAR TREK themes, and a chopped up version of the STAR TREK intro monologue. Film geeks--at least the truly hearty, experimental ones--can enjoy this on many levels. You can get a quick overview of the history of film. You can witness all the different ways stars are show. You can play "guess the film." You can be shocked when he cheats on his own premise in a scene from THE RIGHT STUFF (he shows lights on Earth as seen from space.) You can appreciate how a static star field seen from Earth is so different than a moving star field as seen in a sci-fi space travel adventure (one of my favorite end credits ever is David Lynch's THE STRAIGHT STORY specifically because the credits roll over a moving star field even though the characters are sitting on Earth looking up to the stars.) Anyway, I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's a fantastically film-geeky trip.

Total Running Time: 224 minutes
My Total Minutes: 476,545

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