Thursday, June 7, 2018

Jason goes to Docfest--Day 7

Two more shows on Wednesday, starting with Shorts 2: Women. Hooray for films about kick-ass women!
FEAR US WOMEN: Hanna Bohman, kicking ass by joining up with the YPJ, an all-female Kurdish army. Bonus, ISIS members believe that if a woman kills you, you automatically go to hell.
Hanna Bohman in Syria, killing ISIS
EXIT: Heidi and Sara, kicking ass by leaving the ultra-orthodox community and fighting for women's rights.
The orthodox community Heidi and Sara are exiting from
NELLIE BLY MAKES THE NEWS: Nellie Bly, kicking ass as a muck-racking undercover "stunt" journalist, starting with an exposé on the terrible conditions in a mental asylum, culminating in a race around the world (where she broke Phileas Fogg's fictional record of 80 days...and enjoyed tea with Jules Verne along the way.) From Vanguard award winner Penny Lane (NUTS! and THE PAIN OF OTHERS.)
An overview of Nellie Bly's work.
NO MORE:Two assault survivors, kicking ass by working on Doug Jones' campaign and defeating Roy Moore. Shot entirely on the day of the Alabama Senate special election, as they hustle to get out the vote, then watch tensely as results come in. I forgot how much of the night Moore was ahead until the later precincts came in.
Celebrating Doug Jones' victory (and more importantly, Roy Moore's defeat)

Then the late show started with the short SWEET LOVE. Alvin Bojar lives in a retirement community in Florida. His neighbors don't know that among his many former pursuits, he was a movie producer, and produced a cult soft-core porn comedy called Fongaluli. It's the wild story of a scientist who is trying to make inter-species love work, and the mysterious weed that turns animals into beautiful naked women. Surreal absurdity, as explained by a nice old man.
Alvin Bojar, in his retirement community--waiting.
And finally the feature THE BILL MURRAY STORIES: LIFE LESSONS FROM A MYTHICAL MAN. It seems every few weeks a different Bill Murray story pops up on the Internet. He showed up to a college dorm party and stayed to do the dishes afterward. He joined a kickball game for a while. He photo-bombed a newly wed couple. He sang karaoke, or tended bar, or played tambourine, or anything wacky and cool with regular folks. Director Tommy Avallone starts out a bit incredulous, and the movie starts as an exploration of whether these stories are really true. He meets a lot of people with stories, and they all swear they're true. That's cool. He then sets about trying to interview Bill Murray himself. Interestingly, Bill doesn't have an agent. He has a 1-800 number, that is a semi-carefully guarded secret, and you can call and leave a message. Eventually Bill will read it, but it's very unlikely he'll respond. Instead, he appears to love the spontaneous moments. The "Yes, and..." of his background in improv. There's arguably a zen approach to all of this, and the movie even explores how his movies play with this "live in the moment" philosophy. The film ends up being a portrait of a man who knows how to say "Yes, and..." to life. How to be lost and happy about it, meeting the locals and making--if just for a brief moment--a connection that people will remember and recount for the rest of their lives. Probably a greater gift than any of his movies. And one that we can actually all give each other. We actually don't need Bill Murray to do this.
The Man, the Myth, the all-around pretty good guy
Total Running Time: 186 minutes
My Total Minutes: 482,637

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