Monday, June 06, 2005

SIFF diary, part 7

Well it had to come to an end at some point. After a very long run of excellent films, we finally found a stinker and a couple that fall under the category of nothing special. So I guess I will try to write a few words about the last three films that I attended at the SIFF.

The Warrior

The Warrior is set in feudal India and tells the tragic tale of a warrior who leaves the employ of an unscrupulous warlord and as a result becomes a wanted man. This film had a lot of promise as it has won numerous awards, including a BAFTA for best foreign language film and some recognition for the amazing cinematography. And The Warrior is a beautiful film, with amazing desert landscapes and some great cinematography. But I was hoping that it would play out like a Hindi Samurai epic, with amazing sword duels in the desert, so I was disappointed when this epic didn’t deliver any great battles. It was still quite good and moving, but a bit slow and disappointing for the lack of sword fights.

The Writer of O

How is it possible that such a compelling subject matter, the identity and controversy surrounding The Story of O could result in such a simple minded and plodding documentary? The Writer of O sets out to find the identity of the author of The Story of O and repeatedly mentions that the book triggers some kind of revolution. As to which revolution, I’m not entirely certain. In one of the few entertaining moments of the film was an interview with Henry Miller, so I thought maybe they were suggesting that the Story of O paved the way for the sexually explicit literature of the Beat generation, but I’m not entirely certain what the thesis of the film was exactly. In fact, other than learning a bit about the author of O, I learned absolutely nothing from sitting through this documentary. The only thing positive I can say about it is that the scenes that recreated portions of the book were lovely and I was disappointed that a film about such a wonderfully provocative subject matter, specifically that of women authoring sexually explicit literature, could be so dry and completely soul sucking. But then, perhaps this was the perfect treatment of the Writer of O, as I found the original source material to be just as dry and uninspiring.

Kept and Dreamless

Kept and Dreamless is an Argentinian film is about a woman with a drug addiction and no desire to work who is cared for by her 8 year-old daughter. I’m really not sure what to say about this film as my reading of it was as a rather sad tale of poverty and squandered opportunities, but after listening to the director and star (Vera Fogwell) speak about the film, I don’t think I read the tone of the film correctly and should have felt more uplifting and optimistic than it did.

All I can say is that Kept and Dreamless never really pulled me into the world of the extended family’s life. I felt like a foreign observer. And I’m not certain if this was due to cultural differences, failings on the part of the film or just being exhausted and still sapped from The Writer of O… probably a combination of all three issues.

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