Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Another Day at Cinequest

So today I’ve seen three films. But only two new ones. I started the day seeing The Other Family (La Otra Familia) which I also saw last week. Refresher for those who didn’t see that post my comments on that:
“Charming, nuanced, not cheesy, enough of a bite to be real and enough sweetness to tug at the heart strings. Basic plot is the son of drug addict is taken away from his mom after she has been missing for several days, and ends up being taken care of by a gay couple. We also see a lesbian couple go through the process of family planning, a couple that’s trying to adopt, and what family means to each of these characters. It is set in Mexico and thus is in Spanish, but if you see it at Cinequest it will have subtitles and the performances need no translation to be brilliant. If you have a chance – go see it!”
On a second viewing I found it just as powerful. The visuals are well constructed but I was so engaged in the story I didn’t notice it as much the first time. It’s bittersweet and honest- not the sugar coated gay story. I hope it gets wider release eventually because I’d really love for my friends who weren’t at the festival to get a chance to see this one.

Following that I went to see a documentary, The Island President about President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, as he explains why for the lowest-lying country in the world global warming could be the literal death of his nation. The documentary follows him as he goes to Copenhagen to try to convince the nations of the world to do more to reduce carbon emissions and in doing so protect his country. Bringing a deeply personal reality to the consequences of global warming through showing erosion across the islands and showcasing the culture of the Maldives this movie educates viewers on what the world could lose if we all fail to act. Extremely powerful. So powerful in fact that not only did it make me cry but when the film ended and the directors name flashed across the screen the audience was so stunned it took over a minute before a round of applause hit the theater. Not sparse applause of the sort that almost all films can get at a festival – but the sound of everyone in the theater clapping hard. Environmentalists should bring this to college campuses if they want to add a fact to the risks the planet faces. And anyone and everyone should see this film. Everything a documentary should be.

To finish off the night I went to see The King (Ko) an Indian political thriller. A photojournalist takes an action photography to a new level covering bank robberies, political underdogs, fires and more. Insert the expected betrayal, false allies, unrequited crush, romance interest, old friends, and of course song and dance that is required from an Indian film. Lots of fast cuts and action, cheesy hero dynamics, everything you think of specifically relating to Bollywood it has in its own way. A few modern touches like a political optimism worthy of Obama in 2008 and guys taking a feminist stand in college. It was a good film, but I was far too tired for such a long one… 165 minutes… At just shy of 3 hours long it is a typical Indian film, but a horrible choice for the last screening of the evening. Or if you do want to see it late night, get some coffee or chai beforehand.

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