It's been a hard day. I started out at the Bear Tooth watching The Incredible Adventure of JoJo, which wasn't bad. Basically, it was a Little Red Riding Hood story of two very young kids - seven and maybe 18 months - finding their way back to grandma's house after mom drives off the road and doesn't wake up. It started off with some snarky humor for the parents, but that faded away pretty fast and I got impatient. I wondered whether it was a movie I'd take my three year old granddaughter too, and I think not. Probably seven year old boy is perfect.
Then downtown to watch the best film of the day, for me, The Descendants, an Iranian film that tells the story of less affluent students studying in the west from any country. When his son has not contacted the family back in Iran, the father travels to Sweden to find his son and discovers a number of students whose lives are much less successful than the stories they are sending home. Scholarships don't exist, they are working many hours to support their studies, and living precariously from day to day. The father was a strong character as were the students he meets in Upsala. But I think of the much richer presentation of the same basic story that are in books like The Americanah and this film is pretty superficial in comparison. We get told that things are hard, but but didn't get much detail of why.
I do have audience reaction on video for the filmmakers who couldn't be here, but did, through an intro before the film, ask for such feedback. Look for that later - both in English and Farsi.
The last film I saw was Madina's Dream. This is the sort of documentary that everyone who lives comfortably in a nation that sells arms to the rest of the world should see. It's just video of kids and their mom's in the Yiba refugee camp in South Sudan and the men fighting against the Sudan national army to keep their land in the Nuba Mountains. I don't recall any narrative, just subtitles to translate for us. This film didn't create a story to package this for us, like many docs do, and that was refreshing. But it was pretty depressing. And this sort of thing is repeated here and there all over the world.
OK, my last show is about to begin - Midori in Japan. I hope this is a little lighter.