Sadly, it’s a light day for me, movie-wise, because I’ve been so busy with everything else! I only had time to see 5 Broken Cameras (Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi), a documentary about the struggles of Bil’in, a Palestinian village, against encroaching Israeli settlements. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is typically just to immense for journalists and artists to handle, but I appreciated that this film was not too ambitious. That is, the story was remarkably concise and kept everything tied together by remaining in one location and by following the 5 broken cameras and the youngest son of the cinematographer. One moment that particularly caught my attention was when Emad says that tries to protect his son by allowing him to see everything with his own eyes in order to understand the fragility of life – very intriguing. This approach seems, from my young perspective, quite the opposite of the average Western mentality. This film was much more palatable than 1/2 Revolution not only because the footage was steadier, but also because there was a stronger, more thoughtful narrative to follow. Unfortunately, I left before the Q&A with the directors, which I expect was very insightful.
Hopefully I’ll be able to catch a few more tomorrow! I’ll be trying to figure out my math homework until then.
Fun film, but further review still to come. [ETA: is now up!] I did, however, get a picture with the lovely director, Nadine Labaki, and her husband, Khaled Mouzanar, who composed the music. Yay for Q&A!
With Nadine Labeki and Khaled Mouzannar at SLC Where Do We Go Now? screening
I obviously did not read the film guide very thoroughly because when the strains of the first musical number began, I was definitely confused. However, the musical numbers grew on me. Where Do We Go Now? is about rising tensions between Muslim and Christian men in a small Lebanese town and the efforts of the women to prevent an outbreak of violence. This film was fine-tuned, carefully balancing tension and humor, drawing the audience in. The final twist had the entire theater laughing. I am not surprised that this film is on track to break the sales records in Lebanon set by Titanic and Avatar. Not only was the day gorgeous outside, but the change in weather meant that the people behind the film could trek down from Park City! I liked the film even more after hearing the director speak about her aim to raise awareness and tolerance and her firm belief in cinema as a force for social change.
After a hectic morning of picking up visitors, meetings, and more, I made it to my first film of the day, ½ Revolution. It was fine. I didn’t love it and I certainly won’t watch it again, primarily because the jerky footage was headache inducing. As the filmmakers ran around the chaos of Cairo, I began to get vertigo. Also, the film simply didn’t flow. Yes, there was a timeline, but there was no exploration or resolution. Yes, the title does suggest this lack of resolution, for the revolution is ongoing, but the film suffered from a lack of construction and introspection. There is certainly good, powerful footage, but either there was not enough time or emotional distance to do justice to the complex issues surrounding the Egyptian Revolution. However, this film was a great reminder of events that happened only (!) one year ago – I stood in lines at Sundance last year discussing these events. I got to relive this bit of history from a different perspective and with an incredible immediacy.
I’m grabbing a quick bite to eat after The Queen of Versailles and an update will be on the way later.