Thursday, December 19, 2013

AIFF 2013: Tu Eres Un Homme - Best Of The Fest Encore Showing Tonight

I think we have to pick a winner, because we don't have time to simply compare movies without actually coming up with "the best."
Best of The Fest
Tonight (Thursday)
6:30  Ak Exp Large
7:30 Ak Exp Small
8:30 Ak Exp Large

I liked this film and I don't have a problem with it being 'the best' but there were other films that shouldn't have been bumped.  But since this film plays again tonight at the Alaska Experience Theater, I'll write about it now in hopes people will make the effort to go see it at 6:30pm.

It's French.  It deals with a decent family that has been rendered dysfunctional because of an accident the young son had.  And probably the father had some control issues already.  But nothing that can't be worked out.  The characters are likeable and the audience is on their side.

At the center of the film is the relationship between the 20 year old babysitter and his ten year old kid he watches over - they become good friends that is unexpected given the age difference.  But they are both smart and both are outsiders - and the babysitter seems to understand his ward's needs.  It's a chaste, but loving relationship.  I told the director that I'm looking forward to the follow up when Leo is 20 and Theo is 30.

And that's one of the neat things about the festival - we got to talk to a lot of the film
Cohen and Prada Getting Best Feature Award
makers and Benoit Cohen and producer Matthieu Prada were very available and that allows me to say more about the film than I otherwise could.

The opening scene is extreme closeups of Leo.  Cohen said afterward that he wanted to show the intimacy with which a family member, probably a parent, can look at a child.  The original opening didn't quite work, he said, and this was added later.

When Theo comes into this family's life, he begins to interrupt the dysfunctions that arose after Leo's accident:  the overprotection of Leo, the withdrawal of the mother, the need for control of the father.

Cohen said it had a small release in France but it wasn't extreme enough for the French audience.  The hints of illicit relationships don't turn into adultery or pedophilia.  It has done much better in the US film festival circuit where it has won a number of awards, including Best Feature here in Anchorage. 

This Youtube is only in French, but the film tonight will have subtitles.  

Leo and his mother are Cohen's real life son and wife.  He wanted to capture his son just before he began to change into adolescence and that caused them to rush production a bit. He said there were some issues with working his son long hours for the film.  In the beach scene he got tired of running back and forth.  I suggested the scene where he was buried int he sand gave him some rest and Cohen raised his eyebrows and said he was buried for four hours.

This film raises for us what has been lost by society's paranoia about touching kids.  The fears of incest and pedophilia have resulted in widespread prohibitions against touching by professional adults working with children.  The film challenges that response and suggests that there is a need for more non-sexualized touching and non-sexual intimacy.

It plays tonight with the animated film winner Mr. Hublot which is incredibly richly and beautifully animated.  It's a Luxumbourg/French film.  As with other animated films in the festival, it seemed that all the film makers' energies went into the visual and little was left over for a story to match the imagery. 

7:30 - in the other theater - Documentary winner McConkey plays with Super Short winner Anatomy of Injury.  McConkey was an extreme skier and base jumper.  The film shows lots of his feats and does some exploration of why he was so driven to such extreme activities. 

8:30 - back in the big theater - Best Short Documentary The Guide along with Best Snowdance Film Mike’s Migration and Best Short Lambing Season

Lambing Season director Jeannie Donohoe (R) at Awards Ceremony
I liked The Guide.   Biologist E.O. Wilson visits Gorgongosa National Park in Mozambique.  The real focus is on the young local man whose dream has been to be a park guide, but he's now thinking about being a biologist.  I haven't seen the other two yet, but have heard very good things about Lambing Season

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