I've been lax about posting because I've actually been doing a lot of academic writing lately, but I do want to get something down about the other things I've been watching/reading, and I feel especially obliged to post about the movies from the festival, because they're relatively less known, so:
a Bosnio-Serbio-Croation comedy about a gay guy and a homophobe who end up working together to organize a Gay Pride parade. Comedy? Yes, really. And uproariously funny no less. Though a ways into it, I thought you know, these are actually serious issues, maybe we shouldn't be treating them so lightly. It seems the makers of the film agreed, because the movie did take a slightly more serious turn. Not an unmerited one, alas. But it really is a charming, funny, and worthwhile film. A fascinating juxtaposition of gay rights and the scene in the former Yugoslavia, which is a tense and complicated place.
ok, when you buy a ticket for a movie about a yearly sheep-washing competition in a Turkish village, what do you expect. Apparently there's some buzz about how Turkey is the next big thing in international film, and maybe that's why there are so many Turkish films with gorgeous cinematography and sparse narratives, these resolutely "foreign" works that seem to simultaneously want to tell you about life in out of way places and render them utterly alien through distanced documentary techniques. In this case, a guy informed us before he movie started that the film is NOT a documentary. Which made its opaque narrative style all the more... curious.
From what I could tell, the premise of the competition is that a shepherd runs down a hill into a river with all his sheep behind him, and the winner is the one whose sheep follow him most faithfully into the water. Oh, but first, some of the sheep are dyed red. There is one old guy in the town who always wins the competition. There are two other guys we semi-follow who also compete. One of them also gets a job in the city at a meat plant for awhile. There is a quarry opening up near the town. The meat plant guy works there for awhile. The old guy who always wins says when you kill/eat an animal you have to bury all its bones, and if you can't find them all, replace the missing ones with pieces of wood. It's a fragmentary sort of film, if you couldn't tell.
Discussing it with friends after, we decided that it was partly a reflection on processes of modernization. Also, that it was a very good thing that it was only 75 minutes long.
This is the worst movie I have seen in a long, long time. Distanced documentary techniques, very little dialogue, and yet it manages to have an obnoxiously cliche plot with retrograde political implications, and an offensively disgusting and appallingly inaccurate miscarriage scene. A woman squats over a toilet, spraying blood between her legs, and then plop, out comes a little plastic doll, with a dangling umbilical cord even. I almost walked out of the theatre. I should've. The rest of the movie was just as dumb. Ugh.