Monday, November 14, 2005

Highlights of the film festival

The Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival was... GREAT!

Wed night the weather had once again gotten very warm, so I put the convertible top down and hit the road. Nov 9th at 8pm it was 73 degrees! My spirits were high as I sailed down the highway, singing along with Bette Midler (The Rosemary Clooney Songbook), RuPaul (Supermodel), and Madonna (The Immaculate Collection). I took my bag into the house, turned on the lights, and headed out to find a bite to eat and perhaps a cocktail. But... it was 10:30 on a Wed night. The only places serving food were fast-food restaurants, and although I enjoy the occasional foray into McDonalds and Taco Bell, I just wasn't in the mood for them that night. So I skipped the food and went right for the cocktail. I drove by the Blue Moon, but it looked to be closed, so I stopped at Partners Bistro. The wonderful and talented Matthew was entertaining the handful of patrons with his excellent keyboard skills and nice voice. I had a Malibu and coke.

I stopped at the 24-hour Food Lion on the way back to the house and got a few necessities, which included cereal, milk, and this wonderful strawberry cheescake-flavored pound cake I wouldn't have gotten if Joe were with me. I had a slice of the cake as I watched TV, too excited to go to bed. I finally made myself go to bed shortly before 2am, and I was surprised the next morning that it didn't take me long to fall asleep.

At 8:30 am I left for the box office! I had already read a brief summary of all the films being screened and had filled out my ticket order form. As I stood in line for nearly an hour, I crossed my fingers and thought happy thoughts in the attempt that it would keep my selections from selling out before I got up to the ticket counter.

Success!!! I was able to get tickets to all the films I'd selected except one. It wasn't that the film had sold out, I just couldn't get the show times to fit into any of the openings in my schedule. Without further ado, here's what I saw:

American Potpourri Shorts, a collection of American short films that included 'Flix' a 2 minute animated film about the high price of theatre tickets and the temptation to buy pirated films, 'The Road Taken' another animated film without dialog about a woman's decision when she unexpectedly finds she's expecting, 'Pretty Ugly' a cute film about a funky high school girl who wants to go to the prom but not with any of her classmates, 'Pee Shy' about a group of boy scouts whose scary campfire stories get out of hand, 'I Killed Zoe Day' a whodunit murder mystery told in multiple flashbacks, 'Such Great Joy' about a woman who brings her new girlfriend to the engagement party being thrown for her and her ex-fiance, 'Night Swimming' about a gay teen and his best friend who begin to tackle subjects more complicated than swimming. Although I'm not a fan of animated films, this collection of shorts only included 2 animated films and both were very short. I enjoyed the collection in all.

My Summer of Love, a story about a working class Scottish girl who falls in love with a wealthy English girl. Not only is their summer of love complicated by their drastically different background, but it is further complicated when one girl finds the other has lied to her about several things. A bit of a strange ending, but very interesting and enjoyable. Recommended rental if you see it on Netflix.

Loggerheads, based on a true story of a young man fascinated with the loggerhead turtles of coastal North Carolina. He was given up for adoption as an infant, raised by his adopted parents (a preacher and his wife), then kicked out of the house at 17 because of coming out. His biological mother yearns to find him, and his adopted parents struggle with their feelings and their religious beliefs. Very nicely done. Recommended rental.

Saving Face, the story of a closeted Chinese-American woman who's widowed mother suddenly becomes pregnant at age 48. The mother is ostracized from the close-knit Chinese-American NY community and moves in with her closeted lesbian daughter. A cute story with a good message and a lot of laughs. Recommended rental.

Cote D'Azur, a film I saw this passed summer during the DC Pride Film Festival. This film shows that love can mean many different things: commitment, romance, family, tolerance. For more details of the plot, see my entry on June 5. In French with subtitles. Recommended rental.

Mysterious Skin, the dark tale of two 8-year olds who had played on the same little league baseball team. One grows up believing he was abducted by an alien. The other grows up to become a hustler. They meet in order to help each other deal with the truth of their shared past. Excellent cinematography and a compelling story. Recommended rental.

Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, the ficticous story of a controversial author and poet, whose 'muse' has been a mystery for decades. This film was too long (over 2 hours) and could have easily been told in much less time if the editor had picked a theme or two and concentrated on it/them. There were way too many 'messages' and the production quality was poor. Don't bother renting this one unless you have insomnia and need something to put you to sleep.

The Favor, a hilarious comedy about a female couple in Barcelona who want to have a baby. They try to implement a plan to drug one of the women's visiting brother so he will impregnate the other woman. Everything goes wrong, but you'll laugh out loud at nearly every scene. In Spanish with subtitles. Recommended rental.

That Man: Peter Berlin, a documentary about the self-created gay icon of the '70s. John Waters and Armistead Maupin contribute their impressions and recollections. On a scale of 1-10 I'd give this a 5. Although the topic, photos, and video clips were interesting, most of the dialog with Peter Berlin was vague and lengthy. I'd only recommend this if you are a Peter Berlin fan.

Heights, a Merchant Ivory production, and possibly one of the best films of the festival. Four or five independent stories appear to be happening in the beginning, until characters from one story begin showing up in another story, demonstrating the whole inter-connectedness of life. Very 'Tales of the City', so of course I loved it. A solid and believable performance by Glenn Close. Recommended rental.

No comments: