AFTER THE WEDDING
After the Wedding was the last film I saw for the festival, and I quite enjoyed it. A Danish post-dogme drama, it stars Mads Mikkelsen who is fast becoming one of my favourite actors. Here's a quick run-down of the plot.
*cut forward through lots of drama*
MADS: well that was a lot of drama that just happened right there just then, it was very exciting
WIFE: yeah full on, also I look a bit like Princess Mary in this movie
WIFE: yes but really we probably couldn't fit any more drama into the film
WAIT PLOT TWIST .... ZIIIIING!
omg nobody saw that coming, well they did but it was still pretty full on and riveting. look I'm sweating (a bit)
I give it a sizeable number of stars out of a rating system based on a slightly larger number of stars
ISLAND OF LOST SOULS
Continuing my Danish theme, I saw this kids' flick from Denmark earlier in the day. It's pretty decent and has some great CGI effects - think crackling electricity bolts and crazy shadow creatures and stuff - and if you've got kids it should give the little Potter-heads the quick fix they're probably slavering for right now. It's definitely a kids number though - hardly even a "family film" since the plotting is a bit lame and full of holes and doesn't make a helluva lot of sense.
In the 1890s some necromancer was killed by a secret brotherhood called The Lodge for Combating Evil (that was actually pretty funny in the film) and now obviously all the Lodge members are dead. Cut to today where a little girl is being annoyed by her twerp brother who quick-smart gets possessed by one of the old Lodge members. Turns out the evil necromancer is back and living on a nearby island and we badly need a bunch of perky brats to sort things out pronto. Our heroine and her possessed brother join up with another local kid and the small country town's resident paranormal investigator (I know country Denmark and to be honest, that's not as far fetched as it sounds).
Then it's off to the island and lots of hijinx and whatnot involving an animated killer scarecrow and souls in jars and the evil necromancer who now has wisely added "bald and glowing eyed" to his already impressive job title.
As the program notes suggested, the director clearly knows his Spielberg, right down to the I-can't-believe-it's-not-John-Williams soundtrack. There are enough quirky flourishes to maintain interest - having one main character as a possessed kid is pretty weird - but it doesn't quite have the grandeur it should, or quite enough plot elements adding up to something truly epic and original. Like I said, though, a fun flick for kids - though the aforementioned scarecrow was pretty scary, and had at least one tyke in front of me immediately running from his seat to mum's lap where he sat covering his eyes for a few minutes.
A MAN VANISHES
This is a really important film of its era, but sometimes that isn't enough. For me, it was the most boring film of the festival and while I know it's important, so was the state of my rear after two and a half weeks of films and I couldn't handle what this flick was doing to it.
The 60s documentary takes as its subject the phenomenon of people who simply disappear from society for whatever reason. It starts with the case of a guy who vanished and I quickly found I could relate as my interest, patience and caring soon went AWOL too. The film tracks various people who knew him, soliciting their opinions as to why he'd do it, and continues in this vein for a few hours. Then it gets bogged down with his fiance and her sister who start arguing about whether or not he'd gone to the sister's place a few times. This argument continues for at least twenty minutes, I swear. Now, I gradually became aware that this "documentary" was in fact mostly fictional, since everything I'd ever read or heard about it told me so, and so I was wondering why exactly I was being subjected to this looooooong, pointless and circular argument. I swear to you, it went nowhere, and didn't even go there in an interesting way. It was like two people saying "you did" followed by "no I didn't" on repeat for twenty minutes. No wait, not like that. IT WAS THAT. With tiny, minor variations.
AND THEN SUDDENLY THE DIRECTOR APPEARS!
The set gets pulled back and he explains that this is all just fiction.
I almost expected him to wink at the camera and put one finger to his lips in a "shhhh" gesture as the film froze and faded to black.
Nope, instead we return to the drama where the actors go out on the street and continue THE SAME ARGUMENT for another ten minutes.
Unlike the film, however, I won't keep you here any longer.
MIFF was the best I've seen in years. Congrats to all involved. I had a hearty good time.
And I just realised I wrote more than 10,000 words on this here blog during the fest.