I suspect filmfest is going to kill this whole morning person thang I’ve been suffering through. Monday morning feels more like my Monday mornings of old. I have no hope of making it to bed before midnight for another week. My body clock is so generally confused that it’s going to take a long time to work itself out. However there is at least blue sky out the window. So far I’ve managed to see 12 films: no duds as yet and a couple of really good ones.
Once again, I made it just in time to see the first flick of the day, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, with minutes to spare. It basically covers Joan’s 75th year on the planet and shows her working as hard as ever and has no desire to ever retire. It was a shot for TV piece which may be why I found the sound so muddy. I tried: hearing aids in, hearing aids out, one on, one off. Muddy audio with a foreign accent…I missed far too many punchlines. I would have loved subtitles for this one. Other than that, it was a reasonable puff piece on her background, where she’s at, and her need to maintain “face time” to keep her brand going.
Second movie of the day was Boy, a new kiwi film, and there was a very strong kiwi presence in the audience. Turns out that this is the highest grossing NZ film in NZ ever, and has made over NZ$8 million already. Set in a Maori family in a small country town and told through the life of Boy, the 11 yr old left in charge of his household for a week. This was a humorous piece that was simply a lot of fun. It didn’t push things too far and just seem to comfortably find the right sort of balance. I think it sort of ran out of legs by the end, and didn’t quite know how to finish though it ended well enough.
On to the third, Moloch Tropical, set in Haiti. This steadily paced piece set on the final day of rule of a fictional president of Haiti and charts the effects of power particularly within the elite inner circle. It has a strong political subtext in the old vein of the corruption of power; it gave a strong sense of the disconnection between the leaders and their people. Supposedly the people are rioting in the streets but we see only via televisions within the palace…or rather fortress. What’s happening outside seems to be a world away. Those inside play to different rules and live and engage in their own bubble. A piece that proceeded quietly, and as I said steadily, but with much power.
The final movie of the evening was a new Oz flick, The Waiting City, set entirely in India. It’s about a couple in the final stages of adopting a child to take home. They’ve just arrived and are hoping to pick up their new family and return. There’s also an element of the cultural clash alluded to in Cairo Times but handled oh so much better. This was a nicely done piece that dealt with the intricacies of relationships and change. It didn’t go overboard nor did it get bogged down in too much sentimentality. As the movie progressed, they gradually became more comfortable with their temporary home. There was a subtlety to the potrayal, along with engagement with the landscape. The actors also captured the delicate changes and gave it depth.I think this is my favourite film so far.