Sunday, December 07, 2014

AIFF 2014: My Saturday Highlights

I started at the short narratives program Love and Pain.  I missed the first film and came in during the second one.  Of the rest, I particularly liked two:

  • Universal Language
  • Reaching Home
Based on what I'd read and seen about Universal Language, I was a little unsure if the director would really be able to pull it off.  And at the beginning I still wasn't sure, but it worked very nicely.  An American in Paris meets a Parisian woman - they don't speak each others' languages.  

Reaching Home was just a very good short family drama - family gathering at Thanksgiving - some sibling rivalry among the two adult sons - as they try to resolve what Mom should do about Dad.  Sailing plays a big role in this movie.  This shorts program plays again Thursday evening.

Rocks In My Pockets
Then on to the museum for Rocks In My Pocket.  I was looking forward to this one - an animated feature film where we learn the history of Latvia in the 20th Century through a family in which depression and suicide  are passed on from generation to generation.  This is a film that has had the programmers and judges divided.  The animation programmers didn't even select it to show in the festival.  The feature programmers not only picked it, but made it one of their films in competition.  

The  animation is playful, and relatively simple (not pixar-like) and the story does go on awhile, but all the history gives us context for the end.  This is probably the most unique film in the festival, but if you like Hollywood action films, this one may not be your cup of tea.  

Rocks in My Pockets plays again Sunday (today), Dec. 7, at 5 pm at the Alaska Exp Theater.

Petter Ringbom after showing of his film Shield and Spear
Shield and Spear
Then to the Bear Tooth for the 5:30 film Shield and Spear, a film about cutting edge, generally below the radar artists in South Africa.  The Swedish born director, Petter Ringbom, who lives in New York was here.  Just very briefly, this a beautifully shot film - wonderful images - of artists on the edge in South Africa.  Petter did this as a solo film crew, something that he says helped him gain the trust of the people who filmed.    Interesting topic, well done.  

Shield and Spear plays again today - Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014 at the Alaska Exp Theater (large) at 1pm.

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