Monday, November 2, 2015

24th Philadelphia Film Festival, Day 11: Final day, final nerves!

It was the last day for this year's Philadelphia Film Festival, and boy what a day it was.

I was ready to sit through films 17-20 for this year's outing, but for reasons beyond my control I was not totally ready for it.

I started off with "Kilo Two Bravo", a BAFTA-nominated film about the true story of a group of British soldiers trapped in an abandoned mine field near the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan. Michael Lerman, artistic director of the festival, said it was "10 times" more intense than the similar-ish "The Hurt Locker". That is no joke.

With the wrong step anyone could be blown up in this small piece of desert. Let me tell you, I was so pent up waiting for a bomb to go off at any second I wanted to leave the theater. "Kilo Two Bravo" is incredibly tense it was almost uncomfortable, but how could you look away!? You needed to know what was going to happen to this group of (mostly) GQ-wannabe guys. The ending was incredibly hooky, full of title cards on the real soldiers and a horribly Hallmark-esque song playing underneath it. There was a few shots before the end that would have been the most perfect ending, but it went for cheese factor instead.

After self-diagnosing myself with PTSD from "Kilo Two Bravo", I enjoyed a great train ride on the Empire Builder courtesy of the documentary "In Transit".

The last film from the late Albert Maysles, "In Transit" takes a look at the ordinary people who take this three-day train route from Chicago to Seattle/Portland. It's great to see a documentary about normal people with Maysles' cinema verite style. No gimmicks, no set-ups, none of that political crap that's clogging up the cinemas. It's just people talking about life, themselves and anything else, and they're all endearing persons, from the girl four days past her due date, to the woman trying to reconnect with her daughter she put up for adoption.

Before I knew it, the 76-minute film was over, and I wish I could go on a longer journey with these people. I enjoyed their stories so much and getting to know them. Co-director Lynn True was available after the screening for a Q&A, saying Maysles loved trains and always want to do a film on them. They shot on three, round trip trips to get footage for the film.

Afterward was a "love" story of an older couple about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay portray this couple in "45 Years", a close examination on how the appearance of a former love could forever ruin a very long-lasting relationship.

While I thought "Amour" was a better movie from this decade to portray older love and bonding, "45 Years" is rich in scope and feels uncomfortably real. However, I think the movie is too simple in that a woman of probably 70 years old would be so quick to start investigating the dead lover of her husband, and this wasn't even something that started on Facebook. I guess the film is saying women will never forget what mistakes men have made, but it's so easy a concept.

And last, but not least, was the biggest fuck up of the entire festival.

The only 3D screening of "Love" was set for 7:35 at the Prince Theater, and even after 7 there were long lines of people with tickets and probably a longer line for people waiting for rush tickets. This was obviously going to be a big showing, especially with the director, Gaspar Noé, during a Q&A afterward.

Due to the incompetence of the film society and/or its, alleged, continued problem with technology at the Prince, the film did not start until around 8:55, 80 minutes after its scheduled start time.

Ten minutes late to start is one thing, BUT 80!?  That is completely unacceptable, and festival organizers should have been prepared for the only 3D showing this year, and it was on the last day for christ's sake! The long holdup was to get the projector ready for 3D.

I was ready to crack someone's damn skull that the movie ran this far over schedule. When Lerman came out to introduce the film, I gave him a nice BOO!!!!! and got another loud jab at him a few moments later which some audience members responded positively too. We were sick and tired of waiting all this time for a movie, there was no excusing that. Morons, the lot of them.

And for all that time to get things together, the movie was practically out of focus the whole time. Not sharply so, but just a hairline out of focus that it actually affected the 3D. At last year's fest, and in the same venue, I saw "Goodbye to Language" in 3D, and that was a visually stunning and crisp projection, quite fabulous. This was just half-assed.

"Love", the sexually graphic story of a young man and his current and former loves, was good. Never
Aomi Muyock, Gaspar Noe and Michael Lerman
have I seen a film so unrestrained in showing unsimulated sex outside of porn, and had depth and purpose to it. Love is love, and sex with love is passionate. There is a whole lot of sex going on here, all intimate, never boring. Kudos to that.

Noé, and one of his leading ladies Aomi Muyock, gave some good talk about the film afterward. Muyock only considered it to be a role so she was "comfortable" with all of the nudity, and Noé said it was good for kids to see a movie with sex in it with a story, unlike what they see on the internet (porn).

After all of that, I went home. I will miss the festival (not so much the problems that come with it) and I will lie in a state of mourning that another one has passed. Good films always leave you wanting more.

Au revoir.

1 comment:

  1. This is a gorgeous place, and I won't soon forget it. Attended an event here sponsored by the company. The reception hour at Chicago venues was held in one of the rooms next to the hall. I loved their buttery mashed sweet potato.