Thursday, November 08, 2012

Film Festival: day 1

Today I saw 5 films.  I'll share the film catalog synopsis and my thoughts on the films too.

Keep the Lights On
Synopsis:  Keep The Lights On chronicles the emotionally and sexually charged journey through the love, addiction, and friendship of two men. Documentary filmmaker Erik and closeted lawyer Paul meet through a casual encounter, but they find a deeper connection and become a couple. In an almost decade-long relationship defined by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries and dignity and to be true to himself.  Danish actor Thure Lindhardt, who embodies Erik’s isolation and vulnerability with a gentle presence, anchors director Ira Sachs’s fearlessly personal screenplay. Harrowing and romantic, visceral and intellectual, Keep The Lights On is a moving film that looks at love and all of its manifestations, taking it to dark depths and bringing it back to a place of grace.

My thoughts:  I liked this film's portrayal of what it can be like to be in love with a substance abuser without being preachy.  The pain of missed important appointments, the fear of not knowing where they are, the vanishing ability to trust.  It was sexy, dark, and sad.  Watch a trailer here.

For 80 Days
Synopsis:  Abandoned by her daughter and ignored by her husband, 70-year-old Axun, is living out a traditional life in a Basque farmhouse with little in the way of happiness or fun. Out of a sense of duty, she begins visiting her comatose ex-son-in-law in the hospital. Axun soon realizes that the high-spirited woman visiting the patient in the next bed is in fact her childhood friend Maite from 50 years ago. The two women revive their friendship, but hit a brick wall when Maite reveals her lesbianism to the unworldly Axun. When the memory of a childhood kiss between the women resurfaces, Axun finds herself caught between a late-blooming but all-consuming passion, and her sense of obligation. Maite, on the other hand, has been out for 50 years and finds Axun’s conservatism grating. Will Axun take her chance at love and follow her heart, or succumb to the call of duty? For 80 Days is an utterly engrossing and charming film which is made all the better for outstanding performances.

My thoughts:  I found this film delightful!  Sprinkles of comedy and beautiful scenery lightened this story of marriage, friendship, duty, and passion.  Watch a trailer here.

Synopsis:  Gayby, written and directed by Jonathan Lisecki, is a feature film based on an award-winning short film. Jenn and Matt are best friends from college who are now in their 30s. Single by choice, Jenn spends her days teaching hot yoga and running errands for her boss. Matt suffers from comicbook writer’s block and can’t get over his ex-boyfriend.  They decide to fulfill a youthful promise to have a child together… the old-fashioned way. Can they navigate the serious and unexpected snags they hit as they attempt to get their careers and dating lives back on track in preparation for parenthood? Gayby is an irreverent comedy about friendship, growing older, sex, loneliness, and the family you choose.

My thoughts:  Although the story of gays and lesbians assisting each other to have a child is not a new one, Gayby tells the story in a hilarious, fresh way.  It didn't hurt that the male lead was super cute!  Watch a trailer here.

Ten years after Yossi and Jagger, the tragic love story of two IDF officers serving in Lebanon, director Eytan Fox returns to find out what has happened with Yossi.  Dr. Yossi Hoffman has become a valued and dedicated cardiologist, often using his work as a way to escape his anguished life. He lives alone, still closeted, unable to break through the walls and defenses built around him since the death of his lover. Even his co-workers find it almost impossible to get close to him. His daily routine at the hospital is shaken up by the arrival of a mysterious woman. He follows her, and through the surprising connection they make, receives a rare opportunity to deal with his trauma. Yossi then travels to the southern city of Eilat. Surrounded by sea and sand dunes, he meets a group of young Israeli IDF officers, among them Tom, a handsome and self-confident openly gay man, who represents a new world, different from the one that shaped Yossi.

My thoughts:  Although I enjoyed this film, I felt it was slow and lacked focus until about 1/2 way through when Yossi confronts the woman from the hospital and then goes to Eilat.  Despite the need for editting it was an enjoyable film.  Watch a trailer here.

Escort in Love
Synopsis:   A spoiled rich bitch left in dire circumstances by her husband’s death turns to the world’s oldest profession to earn some necessary dough in this cheerfully non-PC sex comedy brimming with witty dialogue, funny sight gags and savvy comic performances. Tart-tongued Alice is forced to sell her luxurious villa and move with her adorable 9 year-old, Filippo, to a rooftop in Rome’s multi-ethnic, working-class neighborhood. Facing debtor’s prison and the loss of Filippo to social services if she can’t come up with a large sum of money fast, Alice enlists the help of Eva, a high-priced escort. The scenes in which Eva tries to mold her protégé’s fashion sense, personal grooming habits and seduction skills are hysterical. Meanwhile, the friendly locals embrace the lonely Filippo, who starts to blossom. It takes Alice longer to warm to her new wonderland, but the sparks she strikes with sexy Internet cafe owner Giulio move the process along.

My thoughts:  This campy comedy was very cute and fun to watch.  In a not-so-subtle way the story reminds us not to judge a book by its cover.  Watch a trailer here.

1 comment:

Will said...

Very few of our movies, either in the theater or via Netflix, are standard commercial releases. We go for foreign, indie, old classics that one, the other or both of us somehow managed to miss. Keep the Lights On and For 80 Days sound like they're right in our interest zone.