Friday, August 10, 2007

MIFF Day 17

Seventeen days down and two to go. I can't wait to get back to normality. Film festivals are intense and, for me, some anxiety. I had four sessions booked for today, two that I decided last week I wouldn't attend, and cancelled another today, leaving just Lars von Trier's The Boss of It All. The reason? Sleep deprivation. I got to bed early enough, but with certain things on my mind, I was still awake at 2.30am so got up to do some things and didn't get to bed until 5am. I'm feeling like shit.

On the plus side, I met up with Trent from Sydney for the first time and saw the film together at the glorious Regent, my favourite MIFF venue.

I'm a little disappointed that I'm not going to go to Imamura's The Pornographers tomorrow, as I have other things to do. I haven't missed any of the Japanese retrospectives so far, but such is life, and life goes on.

The Boss of It All (Direktøren for det hele, Lars Von Trier, Denmark, 2006)
I went into this film with very modest expectations. Other than von Trier's Breaking the Waves, nothing I've seen of his since has overly impressed me. Not that I thought any of them were bad, but they just haven't engaged me much.

The Boss of It All turns out to be quite a smart and enjoyable comedy, somewhat farcical in the vein of François Veber's The Dinner Game. The director doesn't take it seriously at all, taking the mickey out of himself, doing a self-referential voice-over about his act of filming in which we see him and the cameraman reflected in the window of the office building that is the setting of the film.

The basic premise is that a Danish CEO is attempting to sell his business to a Finnish buyer, and has hired an actor to fill in as the phantom owner. It's completely preposterous, but good characterisations, humour and intelligent setups make for a lot of fun. As I said about Fay Grim, there's so little intelligent comedy around these days, so I found it refreshing. Just what the doctor ordered as treatment for MIFF-fatigue.

Just a small point in passing: the two protagonists look like younger versions of Derryn Hinch and Geoffrey Rush.

This was the second and final screening of The Boss of It All as part of MIFF's International Panorama. Link: Official website.

Links: Index of MIFF films reviewed to date / MIFF website


Kamikaze Camel said...

Yeah, I enjoyed The Boss Of It All too. I wrote about it on my blog.

I like The Regent as a theatre for MIFF but yesterday at The Boss of it All I had a man with a large head sitting in front of me (he sat down right at the start of the movie so I couldn't move) and so I had to constantly move my head to read the subtitles (which were terribly done btw, with the white text on white backgrounds. ugh).

I'd say that ACMI was my favourite venue, then The Capitol and then The Regent (due to the big head). The Forum is the worst (terrible seating) and I haven't had a screening at Greater Union.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Oh! That's what I was gonna say. I have three more sessions. I have Control tonight (I had to change sessions due to illness) and then on Sunday I have Savage Grace and The Man From London, which I cannot wait for!

Paul Martin said...

Glenn, I'm told GU is the worst, though I haven't had a single screening there. I like the Regent as a festival venue, but I agree that ACMI is the best overall. It has the best acoustics of any cinema in Melbourne, if not Australia (at least cinema 2 does). I like the grandeur of the Regent, though I have noticed that a tall person in front could obstruct (it hasn't happened to me yet).

I've had quite a few screenings at the Capitol and I found the acoustics there terrible. The seats are pretty bad too, perhaps worse than the Forum. The best seating position, were it possible, would be the entrance to the venue. The aisles there are shockingly narrow, making one a prisoner once a session has started.

I'll also be at the Man From London screening tomorrow. I'm the guy with the black motorcycle gear with blue arm stripes, and the really fatigued look.

marty said...

I don't mind the Regent but I always sit way up front to avoid anyone sitting in front of me with a big head! GU is ok and comfortable seating. I have seen many films since the 1980s although it's due for a revamo but I doubt they will spend money on renovating it. ACMI is excellent except for one thing. The back of the seats are not reclining at all and I feel that I am leaning forward. Anyone else notice this. Capitol is terrible for sound and picture. The cinema was built at the turn of the century. MIFF used to use Village city cinema 1 but that's gone now too. It would be good to use Hoyts Melbourne Central and Palace Como with its new renovation.

Paul Martin said...

Marty, I also sit towards the front at the Regent; I wonder what it looks like from down the back (it's pretty big).

One of the compliments I've heard about MIFF over SFF is the close proximity of venues. In Sydney they're spread over a large area, whereas in Melbourne they're all within a couple of minutes walking distance. Melbourne Central is still within walking distance, but as many screenings only have a few minutes between them, a change of venue may make that venue not quite practical (unless they increased teh break between films). I like the Como (in spite of its garish decor), and even in spite of some of the screens being a bit high. But the distance from the CBD might make it impractical. The Kino would be a good choice - it has some of the best seating of any cinema in Melbourne.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Guys, I feel like it's my duty to warn you: beware of The Man from London...

Paul Martin said...

Goran, I've read your comments and those of others that were disappointed, so I'm prepared for anything.

Kamikaze Camel said...

They couldn't use the Kino because none of it's cinemas are big enough. Other than cinemas one and two they're all tiny and they have their own films to show opposed to the other cinemas that were used.

And, agreed on the close proximity of the theatres. That was great. Only one tram ride from the station and ten minutes lately you're there.

Goran, London was quite terrible wasn't it? ugh.

Paul Martin said...

Glenn, do you know how many Kino cinemas 1 & 2 seat? I'd have thought they were comparable with ACMI (which seats just under 400). Based on past years' experience, the Kino is dead during MIFF (and pretty quiet at other times as well). It'd probably pay them to host MIFF films on one or two of their screens and regular programming on the others. Palace does it with various festivals, most notably the French Film Festival.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Not sure how many they seat. Maybe 300? Actually, I guess it's comparable maybe to the forum. But I really couldn't say.

Also, I finally remembered who the company president (the one who hired the actor) looked like in The Boss of it All: Treat Williams. EXACTLY like him I tell ya.