Friday, November 13, 2009

Film Festival: day 1

Here are the film synopsis from the Festival, followed by my comments, for the films I saw yesterday:

To Faro
Mel (Melanie) looks, dresses and acts like a boy, and people frequently take her for one, like the slightly younger Jenny, who falls in love with her. At the same time, Mel is faking a relationship with a colleague for her family’s sake. This tale of the obliquity (sexual and otherwise) of adolescence is a tender and beautiful film about youth, and the sadness, loneliness and confusion that go with it. Its heroine is an odd but charismatic character who has yet to fully resolve her sexuality and gender. The tender magic and the atmosphere of mystery and expectation so typical of the protagonist’s age make for a powerful cinematic experience reminiscent of the dilemma faced by the protagonists of Boy’s Don’t Cry but without the tragic and violent conclusion.

I felt a great deal of honesty in this film, despite the fact that Mel is not honest with Jenny until the end. The emotions and actions of the two young women seemed quite congruent with their ages and experiences. Mel was not a caricature or a girl in drag; she was portrayed realistically and sincerely. On a scale of 1-5, I give this film a solid 4.

Out of the Blue
Marion is an attractive middle-aged mother and wife who makes the bold move of leaving her unappreciative jerk of a husband and starting over in a search for the unknown element that was previously missing from her life. Independent but terrified, Marion’s world changes quickly when she encounters a beautiful dancer who makes her feel alive for the first time and a casual friendship starts to look much more serious, much to the dismay of not only the husband, but her daughter as well. Skillfully acted and beautifully filmed, Out of the Blue is an endearing inspiration to anyone looking to start over.

I love the sound of French, and this film was in French so it already had that going for it. But I really enjoyed the story, despite the fact that my own circumstances couldn't be more different than Marion's. Having been in a boring marriage for years, with no advance planning Marion decides to leave her husband when he forgets their 22nd wedding anniversary. She embarks on a balancing act of changing enough in her life to make herself happy while not changing so much that she alienates her teenage daughter. Marion's new life surprises even her when she feels herself falling for another woman. On a scale of 1-5, I give this film a 4.

Patrik, Age 1.5
After facing much discrimination in their quest to adopt a child, Swedish gay couple Goran and Sven finally appear to be cleared to take possession of an 18-month old boy named Patrik. However, due to a misplaced punctuation mark, the “1.5-year old” turns out to be 15 and a homophobe with a violent criminal record to boot. This sitcom-like plot point is transformed into an intelligent rumination on tolerance and gradual understanding. Initially, all involved are displeased about the situation, especially Sven, who has also had his share of youthful run-ins with the law and knows the violence Patrik is capable of unleashing. The couple eventually coax positive qualities out of Patrik that go deeper than the teen’s initial disgust about having to live with “homos.” With strong performances, Patrik, Age 1.5 is a sensitive, quietly funny, and surprisingly affecting take on the theme of a same-sex couples raising an adopted child.

I loved this film! The characters were sufficiently developed to allow you to understand them, care about them, and sympathize with them. I also appreciated that this film didn't stereotype the adopting fathers. Often the more masculine looking man is the smarter, reasonable, centered one while the less masculine looking man is flighty, flamboyant, and prone to becoming hysterical. The story was touching and funny at the same time. Do yourself a favor and add this film to your Netflix queue! On a scale of 1-5, I give this film a 6!!

And Then Came Lola
Time is running out, and Lola has only one chance to salvage a job and save her relationship with new girlfriend, Casey. Wait, make it three chances. With the fast-paced, colorful, fragmented style of the epic German film "Run Lola Run", this time-bending tale chronicles the tempestuous journey of a commitment phobic photographer, Lola. Typically immune to the lesbian ways of the U-Haul, Lola discovers that she might have finally found someone worth slowing down for. But not now. Now Lola is late. Lola has to run! Navigating San Francisco like a treacherous video game, Lola has mere minutes to tame the domineering meter maid, avoid the canine wielding park chick, grab the photos, sidestep the ex, and deliver the proofs to the bar where girlfriend Casey is meeting with a prospective client (and her ex), the euro-hottie Danielle. Thrust on a relationship crash course, Lola grows ever more determined to deliver, and claim her girlfriend from the potential rival. Lola sprints, bikes, hitches rides, and flirts her way through the streets and back rooms of San Francisco.

Since I enjoyed "Run Lola Run" I thought I'd really like this film. On paper it sounds great and I believe the concept is. Unfortunately this film just didn't deliver for me. I found Lola to be the kind of person I wouldn't be able to depend on because she's too selfish to commit herself, so I really didn't care if she succeeded in the film. I didn't hate it, but I thought it could have been done much better. On a scale of 1-5, I give it a 2.

Crush du Jour: Peter Onorati


behrmark said...

Thanks for the briefings! Sounds like there are some worthy Netflix movies for my queue. Behr Hugs!

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cb said...

I used to be involved with the gay film festival in North Carolina. I miss having a good festival!