I went to seven movies this weekend; a personal best. Film festivals are at once a wonderful event and also a physical challenge. I was drop dead tired last night after the last one.
The best film I saw this weekend is from Denmark and is called Smukke mennesker “Nothing’s All Bad”. The movie weaves in and out between four different individuals as they each confront their various problems of loneliness, addiction, alienation, etc… I hesitate to provide character descriptions and interactions because of how shallow it will make a very deep movie experience appear. Just know, I give this film very high praise.
12 Paces without a Head is from Germany and is about pirates on the Baltic Sea harassing the Hanseatic League in the early 15th century. The dirt and filth of the era comes across but bizarrely the movie falls flat because the main characters don’t fit well together even though they’re ‘pirate best friends’. It’s monotonous and the script just lacks a good punch. The festival staff were joking that Pirates of the Caribbean 4 was not the best pirate movie in Seattle this weekend. I haven’t seen Pirates 4, but I am not going to automatically write it off after sitting through 12 Paces without a Head.
Fire of Conscience is a Hong Kong action flick with little action, a thousand clichés, a lame story, and a strong urging from this audience member for it to end already. I always to like to sneak in a good martial arts thriller every now and then and am just disappointed that this film had so much promise, but failed in almost every way. The best/worst part is during the climax where the hero has to stop fighting the bad guys to get down on his knees and deliver a baby. He holds his hands between the woman’s legs as if the football is about to be passed. Horrible.
Beginners is the new Ewan McGregor film and he was in the audience with us to receive an honorary Golden Space Needle award, participate in a Q & A session, and was interviewed about his previous films with clips from Trainspotting, Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, and the Ghost Writer incorporated. Beginners is a very good film from the director of Thumbsucker. It is autobiographical as well about his recent widower 75-year old father (Christopher Plummer) who reveals to his son that he is gay and he doesn’t want to be passive about it, but be an active gay. It is really two films in one weaving back and forth between the father/son and son/girlfriend.
Finally, I saw a movie as part of the Secret Festival. According to the rules, and the oath I signed, I can never divulge the title or discuss the screening in any way. If I do, the Seattle International Film Festival says they will pursue legal action against me in order to recover punitive and financial damages caused by my breach of this contract. I can say that the Secret Festival is composed of films that have not yet come out, are stuck in some sort of litigation, are lost classics, etc… The audience has no idea what the movie will be until it starts. There is a secret festival movie each Sunday during the festival so I eagerly await the next three.