Day 5 – Films #13, #14, #15, #16

SCORE at half-time:

Kate – 16 (distracted by household and other obligations, not fully on vacation)
Nan – 14 (pretty dang good considering she is a full-time student

At this point in the week, I’m moving pretty slowly and am not having an easy time pulling my thoughts together, but will do my best.  Photos coming.  Haiku on suspension.

The Other Dream Team (US Documentary):  This movie is everything that China Heavyweight should have been, but wasn’t.  Through the life/experience of 4 members of the 1988 USSR and 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball teams, we watch the political trials and fortunes of Lithuania from post-WWI to the present.  You can’t help but to cheer when they finally beat Russia for the bronze.  But what is with those Grateful Dead t-shirts, and that funny smell in the room?  Another must see.

Can (World Dramatic): The title is confusing.  The “C” in Turkish is pronounced like a soft “J”.  “Can” is probably the equivalent of “John” in English.  It is the name of the child who is the film’s subject.

Can is my favorite film thus far at this festival.  This Turkish story focuses on an infertile couple who decide to “adopt” a child.  The decision has a profound effects on the mother, father and child.  Told in realtime and with flashbacks, the story is emotionally profound, coherent, and authentic.  The child speaks only a few words at the end of the movie, but is luminous throughout.  Go see this film.

Bestiaire (New Frontier):  You have to hand it to the director.  It isn’t easy to create a film, while avoiding any semblance of a storyline.  It also isn’t easy to watch.  If you want to be filmicly challenged, just about anything in the New Frontier is a good choice.  It is good to see on once a year to remind yourself of the extensive boundary of the art of film.

New Frontier Shorts (New Frontier):  This was a collection of four “short” (the most interminable being 39 minutes) experiential films.  I’ll focus on one of them: The Monkey King, the 39 minute one.  There were something like 11,000 submissions to Sundance, of which something like 200 total are chosen for screening.  Pretty long odds, right?  So we’re watching this film and thinking, “You had to choose this one?  So just how bad were the rest of them?”  The annoyance and derisive laughter of the audience grows throughout the screening.  Several viewers walk out.  About 2/3s of the way through the screen goes black, as if it is over, and everyone cheers because it is over.  But no, 20 seconds later the film starts up again with the same Jackson Pollock-style image rotating erratically on the screen.  The audience boos in horror.  When the credits finally start to roll, someone starts to clap.  Another patron yells out: “Don’t do that, they might be faking us out again.”  Like I said, New Frontier once a year is great.  Twice in in an evening, well, uh . . .

That ended Tuesday at Sundance.