I was planning a 7 movies day and finished with only 4. I’ve got stopped half way as such a rainy day bring people indoors and all venues were full !
However this shortest selection of films proved once again that quality is better than quantity. The first of the day was See No Evil, a modern fable where you go along 3 monkey lives. Actually those 3 characters are stars in their own way, as we have the famous Cheetah, the brilliant science Dr Kanzi and one space chimp. Those animals, that spent their lifetime in the middle of human beings, are now on their old days and enjoying – in a sort of sad way – their deserved retirement. We witness the similitudes with human beings, as those monkeys crossed a barrier. Humans taught them more than they would usually do, but most of them are now stuck in a place where they are wild animals living in an abandoned humanised world. We might find their fate very cruel, as well as we can admire how much anthropomorphized they have become. But it is a mirror of what happens to our seniors : once they are not useful to active society anymore, the poorest of them don’t have a role to play. I cannot tell you how much this movie is worth being watch over and over and over. The movie director found a way of being so close to those animals intimacy that you are in direct connection with them. There you can say his job as a guide was perfectly executed.
It went even beyond completion, as on the Q&A session, he took the time to answer with a true honesty to every single question, and pardon me to say some were more than nonsense. First of all, answering about the why of making such movie, he insisted on not knowing when the idea came from , but more on where : reading fables to his daughter and having seen a picture with a monkey on a chair nearby a swimming pool. Then the magic in his brain operated. The most important as he said, is to be able of compassion and altruism when making the movie. Unfortunately even such statement – the most beautiful to me – kept the audience in a more judgmental mood. A bit of this feeling of real tv shows like diner date or any other where people give marks and say what’s right or wrong. So we had reactions like : Would you show this film to hunters ? Will you show this movie in the US as it is shot there so it ll open their eyes ? Because it is needed…..Hopefully the director continued on the fact that some scenes are beyond his intention, how making a movie is a ll about story telling and that humbly he didn’t have the pretension to make a heavy moral fable. So go and watch it anytime you can ! Makes you feel quite warm inside.
Second, in the same location – so nice in/out of the room – was called Garden Lovers, or people loving gardening and loving love and their partners. Mutual passion for gardening within different couples with their own history. From the couple of retired people who met on internet, to the young ones that met on internet too, back to the seniors who are married since 68 years to the ones that lost their son and found a redemption in gardening gigantic pumpkins. A very nice movie, with a jazzy music to make it even more delightful. Just some arrangements aren’t really helping every time. For instance, as I was checking on eBay, the price of an acceptable steadicam or a crane is around 200 USD. And I believe they had a special offer for this shooting , as the choice of making all those amazing flying cams perspective were used in every single shot. Does it bring anything….well the gardens look like the greatest gardens ever, and the people like proud heroes. This is reinforced by the newly fashion of filming portraits of the people, when they are silent, in a pretty thoughtful stature, and to edit it with their voice over. For me, the only issue with such trick is the fact you put every character to the same level and erase his own personal characteristics. The only other thing the movie could suffer from, and actually it is a hard part when editing : how / when to finish the movie. In this case, we got 3 successive endings, every one of them giving you a different feeling being cut it every time you jump to the next scene as you believed the movie was over. And I know it – as experiencing it – that it is hard to accept that a movie has its own life and end, and that some fancy shots you just love don’t have their place in it. If you are romantic, go for it. And if not, it ll softened your heart, you cold ones !
Third : Cabezon. Chilean movie, with the director and actor on stage. Shot in Santiago with a painter, a dog and an art studio. How to capture and draw a dog – a big gigantic drooling dog – when all he wants is to sleep and to eat. Hard time for the artist, that will live with the animal for a week. Every expected event is happening, from the dog not wanting to seat, to the dog wanting to sleep with the artist, to the dog drinking from the toilet, to the dog making massive brown turds in the street (that are so much like painting from a tube) , to the dog drooling in the all flat, to the owner of the dog that isn’t totally convinced by the final result of the painting. All in all a very cosy comedy, to me a short movie with actors, kind of totally upstream vs all the movies I ‘ve seen this week. And it puzzled me. And not sure I am so enthusiastic about it. It looked to me a very neat well executed diploma movie. And nothing more. Looked to well written to me. This boring perfection with the hints of seductive moments. I am being a but harsh I know, but I was expecting more fragility and less convenience.
Finally, the fourth : Home Sweet Home. Lebanon. Lebanese family. Money drama. Politics, war, hopes and family happy tensions. A man, head of his family has always been in the eyes of her daughter the perfect man, the perfect teacher that created a school to change Lebanon’s future by teaching freedom of thoughts and love to the children of an unfortunate nation. All collapses when she gets to know that to pursue this ideal, since the 70’s, her father is now in a dramatic financial situation. What can she do to accept that her father is just a man and how to help him for this hero to not fail ? If you like the animated movie Perspolis from Marjane Satrapi, you ‘ll enjoy the bits of cartoons that explain the inner feelings of the daughter. By the way, the daughter is the movie director, which is another big question mark to me : how to use a personal situation to make a movie out of it, without becoming a group therapy where no one can identify himself to the film ? I think it requires a lot of work and humility to not appear like I am just making the movie for myself and I am not talking about a situation but about me, me and a bit of me.
Here we don’t have that problem, as cleverly the animated sections give distance and make sure we don’t feel like it is all about the movie maker’s disappointment. We even keep focused on the history of a man, of a nation where hopes have to be pragmatic, as tomorrow might never come of if it does, not as we thought it will. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to say the movie is only about modern history of Lebanon. It is clear, and touchy and probably already the premise of another movie, that all this is about a daughter, lost between cultures and legacies, that accepts what life is about and that her father is a true hero by being a simple man who have dreams and a great sense of realism. Becoming an adult some might say. I would call it acceptance for your own mistakes. And if the last scene is pretty clear, it definitely makes me feel like wanting to see more of that movie maker. And her on-screen.
What a fourth and last day ! Great movies, strange audience and mesmerizing movie directors. Now time to digest it all…and tomorrow the final note : Visions du Reel 2014, a great year or a just another year ?
Meantime I use the opportunity for all new followers – check out some stuff I made and some more on :
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the movies :