Sunday, June 27, 2010


Three films down twenty three to go.

The crowds are nice, the staff friendly there is an ease that I like. But already I'm tired.

I have to get up early tomorrow so this will be a simple recounting of the movies and a few bits.

An over hyped comedy was a pick in every article on the festival as a film to see. I got a ticket for that very reason...because everyone said I should. Amusing to a point film is a convoluted mess of a good many not very bright people doing terrible things to each other. Nominally a comedy I didn't laugh until about 45 minutes in. Its got some great bits (and they are bits) and some characters I''d have liked expanded, but for me it was the sort of movie I would have been watching on the Fast Forward. An hour in, I walked out and went and got something to eat. The people from the festival were kind of shocked, but as I said to them I have three screenings in a row today and 25 more screening over all I don't have time to waste on something that wasn't holding my attention. (Mark this as the first use of the Buried Land Rule: If you're watching a film hoping something will happen to make it better- say some one stepping on a land mine as in the case of Buried Land-leave the theater because odds are it isn't going to happen). In all honesty I would have stayed if the audience had been doing more than sitting silent and only occasionally laughing, since then I could guess that maybe I was missing something.

It took four or five years to be able to play the film festival. The rights owners threatened to sue if they ran it. Only weeks of negotiations from the Chinese Office of Economic Development (or something like that) got them permission for one screening. The print a Canadian one in private hands that hadn't been run in 6 or 8 years was proof the vandals were storming the castle since it hearkened back to the grind houses of old. The film is a great action film, rightly held to be a classic about a team going into Viet Nam after the war to destroy a cache of weapons. Every military and Viet Nam cliche is amped up and turned on its head. Its brutal, ugly, funny and a blast.

Sammo Hung the director was in attendance and was very funny. I have no idea what he was talking about because it was more about listening to a great speaker hold court then what he was saying (besides it'll be on You Tube) I didn't take notes I just took a couple of pictures and smiled a hell of a lot. (The staff LOVED Sammo and the couple of people I spoke with couldn't say enough nice about him)

Actor Simon Yam won a ton of awards for his portrayal of a poor father in Hong Kong in the 1960's. He introduced the film (and shook my hand on the way to the stage). He a was charming and funny and I'd have liked to get him in a moment when he wasn't working the crowd.

The film itself is a memory film of a young boy of his family, specifically his brother, in the later part of 1960's. As the family struggles to get on financially and as the brother struggles to find romance fate deals the family some nasty cards. More melodrama than drama the film is deliberately structured from the point of few of the youngest son which eliminates much of the complexity. Its an okay to good film, but I don't get the awards, even Simon Yam's best actor awards, he's a supporting player at best, though what he does is gangbusters (watch the performance-its not acting its reality).

Then again some people loved the film, since during some scenes the people around me were sobbing uncontrollably and they went crazy when it ended.

There's more but that's all for now I'm off to bed. Its too late and I have an early train.

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