Monday, October 26, 2015

24th Philadelphia Film Fest, Day 4: A day of great choices

Note to self: check the public trans schedule about an hour before you plan on leaving. That would be pretty helpful.

Aside from that slight hiccup at the start of my day, the fourth day of the Philadelphia Film Festival was the best one yet. Instead of seeing four films like I wanted, I opted for three. I was just too darn tired.

The start of this eventual great day was "Remember", a film I had not heard about before. The festival program guide says it's about a guy who seeks out the Nazi who killed he and his wife's families at Auschwitz.

"Remember" features a standout turn by Christopher Plummer as the man on the cross-country hunt to kill this Nazi. He portrays the dementia-afflicted man with a delicate touch of warmth and sadness. This is a film that had everyone shocked, and if you see, you'd understand why.

Not your standard rinse and repeat Holocaust movie.

Off of that high was France's submission for the 2015 foreign language film Oscar, "Mustang", a Turkish-language film about five young girls trying to live carefree lives in the Turkish country and the conservative prison that is their home.

Think of this as the alter ego to "Pride and Prejudice". While the five sisters of each story are flirtatious and fun, "Mustang" does a 180 on its fantastical ladies. Any fun is stuck in the house, and the only time they can meet men to marry is when they are brought to the house. The "Mustang" girls must then flaunt themselves as appropriate ladies to be wed in front of their forced suitors.

"Mustang" has some funny and endearing moments of true sisterhood, and at at the same time a true sense of being strong women, no matter what age. This sincere portrait puts to shame that crying mess "Room" about an awful mother who abuses her own child. "Mustang" is a better portrayal of what it means to be a strong female than the over hyped claim for "Room".

Finally, there was "The Lobster", the prix du jury winner at Cannes this year. In a made-up world, people are forced to fall in love within 45 days before they're transformed into an animal and released into the wild. That's the premise from the imaginative director Yorgos Lanthimos, who directed the Oscar-nominated "Dogtooth".

Colin Farrell stars as the main character, and one of the latest 'loners' to check-in to a hotel that forces these single people to mingle and be a couple. He eventually escapes the hotel and finds love with one of the other loners who lives in the forest.

"The Lobster" is just as funny as it is surreal. Lanthimos is insanely creative in how he is able to create his own dystopia for his films and make it funny without mocking said dystopia. I don't know in what world children are used to alleviate arguing between couples, but that's a reality to solving problems in "The Lobster".

Just see this hilariously weird mess whenever it gets released in the states.

Everyone seemed to flock from "The Lobster" to "Carol" playing immediately afterward over 10 blocks away. I had already seen it so I wasn't joining that mad dash.

I really liked "Carol", by the way.

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