sff 2017 day 5

Having had a full day on Saturday, I had a very easy start on Sunday with a sleep-in, followed by a relaxing brekky over the paper at the cafe down the road. Then mid afternoon I headed into town for my 10th movie of the festival and my next Kurosawa flick, The Throne of Blood (Japan). This was Kurosawa incorporating western themes into his work and this was his take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. His approach was a merging of Japanese approaches with a foreign play and I think it worked well with the re-telling based around Japanese lords and leaders. In some respects, it was easier than watching Shakespeare in English as it was Shakespeare’s text translated into Japanese, then translated to regular english for the subtitles. For this reason I found Kurosawa’s version very accessible and may actually be my preferred version though I did miss the english enunciation of the witches’ chant “Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble…”.

Movie #2 was my 11th of the festival and only my second at the State Theatre, a venue I am rarely at this time round. This was for The Other Side of Hope (Denmark, Germany) and geez it was good. The director, Aki Kaurismäki, is one that I have long been fond through previous works like Drifting Clouds (SFF 1997), and here he takes a gentle, though occasionally serious, humorous look at refugees in Denmark through the life of Khaled, a Syrian who arrives illegally, stowed away in a boat and applies for asylum. Asylum seekers are given accommodation with freedom to move around the city. Juxtaposed with Khaled’s story is that of a local who leaves his wife, sells his shirt business, wins massively in one night of cards, and buys an restaurant, later hiring Khaled who has run away from deportation. This a friendly film, full of optimism and a very Danish sense of humour.

Final movie of the day was a modern Japanese movie, Rage (Japan) which is described in the programme as a mystery thriller but I think that sells it short and understates its core. It starts with a murder scene and does track through searching for the suspect, throwing in some red herrings along the way and a few stories that seem somewhat unrelated. Ultimately, this film was much more an exploration of its title, of rage. Different people come to their point of rage, often with a long buildup, that sense of helpless screaming against their situation and inability to respond as events beyond their control push them to the edge. It explored different aspects of its subject with differing resolutions or no resolution at all. It wasn’t quite the film I expected and I liked it all the more.

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