Saturday, December 10, 2011

AIFF 2011: Corridor and Amigo

 The Corridor

I'm not a horror movie fan.  I look away before the blood flows.  But I stayed in the Bear Tooth Thursday night to see the beginning of The Corridor.  I don't want to say anything about the story in case you see it - it's playing again Sunday Dec. 11 at the Alaska Experience Theater at 2pm.

But I did want to say I thought it was a good film.  The characters - four young men who had been friends a long time and were starting to go off in different directions - were interesting and real.  The story had a very satisfying ironic twist to it.  The special effects in this low budget Canadian film worked well.  And Alaskans will appreciate the familiar look of  a remote cabin in the snow.  I found the movie genuinely scary and I stayed most of the way through until one nasty bout with a big knife.  But even as I walked out, I really wanted to know what was going to happen.


Tonight we saw John Sayles' Amigo, which takes place in a small Filipino village after the Americans win the Spanish-American War and are finishing up their takeover of the Philippines.  This film was brought in at the last minute to fill the hole for a film that would have been a North American premier.  But at the last minute the film got accepted in a much more prestigious festival where it would get much more attention, but only on the condition that it was the North American premier.  So, we lost it.  But Amigo was a good substitution and it was nice to see members of the Anchorage Filipino community there to see Joel Torre, who, I was told, is a major Filipino film star.

The film focused on a prosperous village whose head man followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and who owned most of the land which others farmed.  Then the painfully young American troops come in, and despite the local American commander's decency, things do not go well.  The characters in the movie speak their own languages - English, Spanish, a Filipino language (not sure which one), and a Chinese dialect that had a Cantonese ring to it.

I couldn't  help but think about the young American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I was also struck by how much the technology of war has changed since those days of horses, swords, and simple guns.  I'm glad I got to see it.

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