It only takes me about 5 minutes while dining with a couple blokes on holiday from Australia to start using words like “bloke” and “holiday” (which was the case this morning at the Bed & Breakfast where I’m staying)…so needless to say, after 24 hours in Toronto, I feel as though I’ve quickly assimilated myself into Canadian-mode. I’m loving it!
Though today’s films left a bit to be desired, I’ve scored tickets for the next couple days that already have me feeling better.
The first two films I saw today were from Sweden.
The first was BEHIND BLUE SKIES (dir. Hannes Holm) – a 1970’s coming-of-age story wrapped around a true incident of a major drug ring and consequent bust. At first glance, the film seemed so honest without being nostalgic…and things suddenly took a turn when strange (and on-the-nose, schmaltzy) music choices started to interrupt the pacing. The story follows a teenager who finds a summer job that takes him away from his miserable home-life (a volatile, alcohol-abusing father and a mother who takes the verbal (and sometimes) physical abuse). The films was not without its merits – the period details were wonderful and the central performance was genuine. I’m glad I saw it…but I found it to have some major flaws.
Next I saw EASY MONEY (dir. Daniel Espinosa) – a film that tonally reminded me of A PROPHET. This film tells stories of three characters who end up crossing paths in the same drug-riddled landscape that has all of them trying to make money the “easy way.” The storytelling is well-done, the editing is (at times) interesting, the performances are strong, the photography is nice, and my heart raced. It’s effective. That said, I really don’t care about drugs, violence and machismo attitudes. Male-driven stories with deplorable characters who carry out insidiously graphic violence don’t really interest me (though they did have some redeeming qualities). Good film. Not for everyone. (Below is the trailer…there aren’t subtitles, but I’m certain you’ll be able to “follow.”)
Lastly, I saw the latest from the Grand-Daddy of the French New Wave – Jean-Luc Godard. This new experimental film – FILM SOCIALISM – strives to find meaning in our obsession with documenting everything. With a mixture of mediums that range from ultra-saturated high definition to enormously pixillated images with oddly hued pallets, Godard gives us a full range of humanity in this film that seemed to be 3 hours long (it was only 97 minutes). I don’t speak French, and it was an artistic decision not to subtitle the film…so I felt all the more lost for most of the film – which I’m guessing is all part of the point (other languages were also spoken…so I understood the German). Ultimately, I think I got the message – but I certainly didn’t understand all of it. (In addition to numerous documentary -like set-ups, there were also a number of absurdist, narrative elements.) The point? – we’ve lost our ability to communicate because we communicate too much and in an unfocused way (insert youtube cats meowing). That said, Goddard is known for semiotics. I guess he’s just trying to figure it all out. (Incidentally, the I find the trailer much more intriguing.) Embedding the youtube video doesn’t work…so here’s a direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKeGpvrjEcQ
It’s time for a good Canadian beer before bed!
I’ll check in again tomorrow.