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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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SIFF 2011: First Week

Posted by gck Friday, June 3, 2011

Way behind! It takes me so many days to write these posts because I’ve been getting home late… 10:30 if I’m lucky. Doesn’t leave a ton of time to do anything else. Tonight I miraculously caught a 9pm bus back from Seattle, but I still got home after 10 because I had to go grocery shopping.


Lope (Spain, 2010) – I don’t have time to go through descriptions for 400+ films, so I tend to narrow down by things like genre, country, and theater location and only look at the filtered films. What is this I see? “Period piece” as a genre? Mwahaha… I’m definitely getting my fill of period pieces this festival. Lope was the first one of these. The Spanish people were rolling their eyes at everyone pronouncing it just “lope” (as opposed to “loh-pay”). Very small crowd at the Neptune, so I got seats in a great location. Not great seats, though, since they’re in the middle of a remodel and only had folding chairs on the ground floor. People complained SO much about the chairs and the sound at the Neptune that SIFF had chairs expedited from Sundance for the second week of the festival. Anyway, the film was pretty good. I’d call it “Grubby Spanish Shakespeare in Lust.” Lovely scenes in Madrid, Lisbon, and the Spanish countryside. Nice poetry.


Page One: Inside the New York Times

Page One: Inside the New York Times (USA, 2011) – A good percentage of my picks this time were documentaries or films based on true events. I guess it’s a good sign that I’m having the desire to be more aware of things that are going on in the world. Page One was an entertaining documentary, particularly due to David Carr being such a character. It’s cool to get a small glimpse at how things work inside the New York Times, and the film is also a good wake up call to the fact that investigative journalism requires money. We’re very much in a “I want it free” time period, which means groups who are producing the journalism we want either need to find a different way to fund themselves or go out of business. There are a lot of ideas, but so far there isn’t a guaranteed solution. Brian Stetler of the New York Times was delayed by weather leaving Chicago (he was there for Oprah’s farewell) and missed my screening, so they had a panel of journalism-related people there instead. I was in a back-to-back film with the next screening of the film, so I asked to go inside just for the Q&A. It was a completely full house and they started the film late, so he only answered about three questions (including one woman who didn’t ask anything and just gave him a weird “thank you” from “all of Seattle”).


Bibliotheque Pascal

Bibliotheque Pascal (Hungary, 2010) – I knew this one was going to be weird, and it was weird. But it was also wonderfully creative, full of beautiful imagery, and not like anything I’d ever seen before. Mona is tricked by her father to go overseas, where she ends up being sold into a brothel called the Bibliotheque Pascal, where the workers have to play the part of literary characters. But all is not as it seems… This film probably has no shot of succeeding outside the festival circuit, so I’m glad I caught it. Only one drawback: pity the projectionist either fell asleep or left in the middle of the film because the sound totally went out during one of the few segments where the film was in English (so no subtitles to read) and it took five minutes for someone in the audience to get fed up and leave to tell them to fix the problem. SIFF and the Neptune Theatre were not looking too good… (On the other hand, I think at the same time, there was a bomb scare at the Harvard Exit during the screening of a documentary about the Earth Liberation Front, and they all had to evacuate)

Film count: 6, Volunteer vouchers: 5


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