Skip to main content

SIFF 2007, day 1

The Aerial- Argentina, SciFi

I have a history of seeing memorable silent films at the northwest film forum, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the first movie attended at SIFF 2007 would be a silent film at the northwest film forum. As with all of the other silent films, I was charmed. There is something inherently appealing in silent films that modern movies don't contain. There is a special aesthetic appeal of old black+white film and a simplicity to the story telling necessitated by the pause in action cut with the titles. Guy Maddin is known for making very quirky, modern silent films and The Aerial is another, modern silent film, although there is sound in the film, it is the story that keeps the characters silent.

The setting is a place where Mr. TV is in control and the people have lost their voices. There is one woman, The Voice, who has a voice, but otherwise, all inhabitants of the city communicate through reading lips and the view is given subtitles for all of the dialog which is beautifully framed with actions and mise un scene punctuating the words. Mr. TV is no longer happy with just keeping the city silent for his own gain, but now threatens to take even more from them. Just as suggested in the character names, The Aerial is a satire very relevant for today with themes of fascism and using very familiar symbols borrowed from Nazi Germany.

The Eyes of Edward James, Canada, horror, short

This 15 minute short film played before Them as part of the Midnight Adrenalin series. This is a pretty cool short film where the film captures what Edward James would have seen on the night of his wife's murder during a regression therapy session. The therapist controls where Edward is the in story, so it is revealed early on that a murder is at the end of the story, but the details are only slowly revealed as Edward describes coming home from work, having dinner with his wife and then, moving through the house in search of the source of a strange noise. The result is a rather tense 15 minutes as the details accumulate and I became less convinced that I knew what exactly Edward experienced in the attic or even what the purpose of the therapy session was. Did these events that Edward is describing happen or is it a recurring nightmare? This was a tense and intriguing short that I wouldn't mind seeing again. Maybe it will turn up on-line someday.

Them- France, horror

Clementine and Lucas are French expatriates living in Bucharest, Romania. One night they wake to mysterious noises. They receive some strange phone calls and their car is stolen. Then they believe someone is in the house and they attempt to barricade themselves into the bedroom. Them progresses into a chilling cat and mouse game miles away from help.

At the end, Them claims to be inspired by actual events. I have not been able to find much evidence other than what is at the movie's official web site, but the events that transpose are at least plausible. And a bit unnerving. This was a very jumpy and scary movie that I enjoyed. Them has planned distribution in Europe, but no news of a US release, but if you enjoy a good suspenseful horror flick without the graphic violence or even much in the way of blood, this is a good one. And due to the genre, there is little dialog, so very few subtitles to remember to pay attention to.


Popular posts from this blog

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhastan

Right after seeing Sacha Baron Cohen's film, Borat, I was disappointed. I didn't laugh nearly as hard as I had hoped and it wasn't quite as outrageous as I had expected. But in retrospect, I have to admit the comic brilliance of Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen has adeptly created a film about a fictional man, Borat, from a fictionalized Kazakhastan and used this creation to show the hipocracy of America. Using tactics pioneered by reality television shows, Borat travels across America on a quest to find his true love, Pamela Anderson. On this journey, he meets numerous people who share their thoughts about a multitude of things, exposing the way some Americans really believe about race, class, homosexuality and the other sex. It is a very interesting film. Sure, it gets laughs from ambushing Pamela Anderson with a wedding bag, traveling with a bear, and a bit of naked wrestling, but this film is also very smart in its sly portrayal of the wealth of prejudices that are ali

Girls who are boys, who like boys to be girls...

Where does one begin? Peaches Does Herself is a German concert movie of Peaches. Written by, Directed by and starring Peaches. But how does one describe this experience? Normally, I skip the Face the Music program of films at SIFF each year, but Peaches Does Herself was described as the queerest film in the festival. As it turns out, I knew exactly one Peaches song prior and still know little to nothing about her, but it didn't matter. I enjoyed the music and most of all, I loved her persona. Her sexuality was on display and was not only unapologetic, but read as loud as if it were a billboard with "fuck normalcy and judgement, this is who I am" in bright pink neon. To give an overall impression of the film, I've decided just to lay out what happens along with stills. I suspect that is the best I can do for readers to decide whether this is something they should seek out. The film begins in Peaches' bedroom and after the dancers climb through a giant vu

Brand Upon the Brain! And more horror...

Brand Upon the Brain (2007) - I'm on so much crack! I'm a huge fan of horror. Guy Maddin! I love his movies and he was just in Seattle to perform Brand Upon the Brain! I'm certain I've written about Guy Maddin's films in the past, because he has been in Seattle several times for screenings and discussions of his work, especially since he spent quite a bit of time here casting, filming and scoring Brand Upon the Brain! with all local talent. What is so unique about Guy Maddin is that he creates modern, silent expressionist horror movies. His other films have been scored and therefore have the look and feel of a 1920s era silent picture without being silent. Brand Upon the Brain! is a silent movie and his best feature thus far. Like much of Maddin's previous work, this is totally autobiographical, or to quote Guy, "The thing is literally a true story - only much, much better." The main character is the prepubescent, Guy Maddin (Sullivan Brow