11.45am turned out to be a somewhat awkward time to start seeing movies; at 9am I awoke relaxed and eased into the morning, then all of a sudden it was 10.30 and there ensued a mad dash to get ready and get into the city :) First up was a Danish movie set just after the end of WWII, Land of Mine. The film revolved a group of German soldiers held by the dutch to clear landmines; the coastline of The Netherlands had over 2.2 million landmines left buried in the sand. The Germans were all boys, young conscripts who were POWs but not treated well. This was a moving, gripping film as each side came to terms with the other; mere months after they were enemy combatants. This film was grimly intense and difficult to watch at times; it had a strong emotional core and is one of my best movies of filmfest so far.
For the second I was able to sit with my old seat buddies, and catch up on movements: some had changed seats, others had gained more seats as their kids had reached adulthood. I still miss that side of things a little, sitting with the same group each year and discussing film and life. On the other hand, my excitement for filmfest seems to have reignited as I now spend hours prior to festival, poring over the programme, mulling over options and resolving viewing conflicts, not to mention the “fun” of racing from venue to venue.
Film #2 was Laurie Anderson‘s new piece, Heart of a Dog, which included a dedication to her departed husband, Lou Reed, who appeared in the movie and sung in the closing credits. Ostensibly, it was about Laurie’s relationship with her terrier and it’s eventual demise, yet I can’t help but think of parallels to the loss of her husband Lou. I’ve been a fan of Laurie’s work here and there, her voice has a way of sliding through my brain. This was at times meditative, slipping from her dog to bits of her childhood to concerns around all our information being recorded, taped, examined, and stored. A beautiful film: a piece of art full of sadness, humour and depth.
Film #3 I’d been looking forward to as it starred Gerard Depardieu, a light comedy from France called Saint Amour. This was more of a mild french slapstick movie than anything else, at times funny, though a little drawn out. It was fun enough but ultimately left me a little unsatisfied. Film #4 left me a little unsatisfied too but for different reasons. Lost and Beautiful mixes a background of Comarran ruination and the need to preserve a decaying Bourbon estate. The film plays with the need to remember the key character who was devoted to preserving and restoring the palace. This is conveyed through the wanderings, and wonderings, of Pulcinello, an immortal called down to perform an associated task. There was a very strong sense throughout that this was a film rich with cultural references but I don’t have the background to recognise much beyond a vague awareness.