(Read about Days 9 and 10 here)
Perhaps they're not using their signature line "See Something You'll Never Forget" because I hadn't seen it promoted anywhere during the festival this year. Nothing was so incredible about the 21 films I saw this year that I wouldn't be able to forget them — though I really adored "Toni Erdmann" and "Paterson" — but it was certainly a better fest than the past two years when I really started covering it.
Maybe I just chose better films? Maybe the films, overall, were better? Even when I picked something I wasn't looking forward to I ended up being pleasantly surprised, like "Miss Impossible" and "Fire at Sea". There were a few rumblings in waiting lines about a few of the selections, but people seemed to be receptive of almost everything.
Of course, I am always more bothered by the fact that films consistently started late which is a prevalent problem with the festival. It's like a normality.
On day 11, the final day of the festival, I enjoyed just two films, the documentary "Obit" and the mystery "Personal Shopper".
With my knitting needles in hand, I enjoyed another journalism movie at the fest — after "Christine" — this time a portrait of the obituary team of The New York Times. Obits, as one writer notes, is not about death, that's about 10 percent of it. The other 90 percent is about the life of the person.
|The "Obit" dishcloth. I really love the shades of pink|
against the white center. Gorgeous.
One would be surprised by how in-depth and awesome the work of being an obit writer would be for the most well-known newspaper in the country. The skill to craft an entire story on someone they had never heard of until that morning when they get to work is very in-depth and involving. Reaching out to family members, asking a bunch of questions, going through the morgue to find clippings, and so on. It's exactly like writing conventional news only as an on-the-record ode to a person of interest.
Full of chuckles and passion, "Obit" was a nice little documentary. So nice that I managed to knit a whole dishcloth in 100 minutes! That was my fastest time yet and I even had to add color to the project.
And finally, the last film of the 25th Philadelphia Film Festival for me was "Personal Shopper", the best director co-winner at Cannes this year. Kristen Stewart stars as the titular character in this weird hybrid of mystery and extremely bland drama. I say bland because if it weren't for the mystery element of this story, it would just be the story of a personal shopper.
Maureen (Stewart) can not only pick out a great dress or pair of shoes for her supermodel boss, but she can connect with spirits and the dead, like her twin brother Lewis. Starting to connect with her deceased brother, Maureen starts to receive text messages from an unknown person who seems to know her every move. She's intrigued, thinking it could be her brother, but things get weird during the last half hour of the movie. It's probably best to not explain the plot further just in case of the potential to spoil. There were many questions the movie brings up that I wish would have been answered, but what's the fun in that? Olivier Assayas made a story that is engrossing enough, but it didn't keep me entranced to want to sit around and contemplate it, either.
"Personal Shopper" is the first film Stewart really holds her own in. So used to the wooden, emotionless actress who got through the "Twilight" series who looked bored at every turn, Maureen was a character for her in that it combines her young careless attitude about things with fear in the mystery elements of the film.
|The "Personal Shopper" dishcloth was almost finished|
during the film.
Alas, all good things must come to an end.
I always hate leaving my last film of the festival. It's a sense of sadness that this 11-day stretch of community and film has completed for the year. I feel good that I was able to see so many different films, that much is always certain. This year was a little more special because I got to hone my knitting skills!
Until next year, happy moviewatching. =]