Tuesday, August 05, 2008

MIFF Day 12

French classes today, sandwiched by a film either side. For what it's worth, today I learnt about imperfect (l'imparfait) and revised passé composé. I have weekly classes at Alliance Française and conversational classes with a French person, Cécile, in a local cafe each weekend. I'm loving it and have recently started feeling like I could be understood in France (though I'd struggle to understand others, hehe).

In short, the early film was disappointing and the late film was fun.

Tue 5 August

California Dreamin' (Endless) (Cristian Nemescu, Romania, 2007)
Surveillance (Jennifer Lynch, USA, 2007)

California Dreamin' (Endless)
This is my least favourite of the Romanian films at this year's MIFF so far. It's the most contrived and there's a number of clues that this was made with an international (especially a US) audience in mind. First there's the title (which bears no conceivable connection with the film's story). Then there's the use of US troops on their way to the Balkans. When the ends comes and the title track blares out, the film's unashamed targetting of Western audiences is most obvious.

The film's cinematography was enough to put me offside. The use of wobble-cam was just way over the top and distracted me for every single minute of the film's long 150 minute run time. The story (a black comedy) is too trivial to warrant such a length. And the film's central premise - that a local station-master could hold up NATO forces until they present a required customs form - is just so implausible that I couldn't buy into the story at all. That the delay took five days was just inexorably painful. I'm sure some mainstream audiences could find this amusing and entertaining, but it shitted me big time.

Trash! Exploitation! Implausible! But I liked it, a guilty pleasure. Trash, but polished trash. Bill Pullman is close to the top of his game, and boy he's aging. Jennifer Lynch has extracted a performance from him that reminds me of his performance in her dad's film (and my favourite), Lost Highway. This is a good festival film, a bit of fun in between all the serious stuff, not unlike some of the Ozploitation flicks.

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