03 March 2013

Day 3 of the !f Festival

Berberian Sound Studio
I impulse bought a ticket to this after seeing a description of it on the program for the EU Film Fest in Chicago  (I live vicariously through my boyfriend). It's an odd film: I feel like I didn't quite understand what it was trying to do. In the movie, an Englishman arrives at a sound studio in Italy, where he is to help with the sound production on a film (in the classic old style of adding the sound after the picture has been shot). It turns out that the movie is a horror flick, and the scenes get increasingly disturbing. Our hero is more and more disturbed (there's a wonderful scene of him sadly tearing the stems off radishes, meant to represent the sound of a witch's hair being pulled out during torture), particularly, perhaps, because simultaneously, the misogyny of the film's directors is more and more manifest in their treatment of the actresses. Meanwhile, he is also receiving letters from his mother at home, which contrast oddly with the atmosphere he finds himself in. And he is trying to get reimbursed for his flight there, and getting caught up in a nightmarish bureaucracy. It's an interesting set-up for a story, but it's handled somewhat strangely in the movie. The transition here isn't gradual, but in odd lurches, where suddenly he's at a breaking point, having registered only vague discomfort before. And then, things get really weird.

This movie stars Jack Black and Texas. And Mathew McConaughey and Shirley MacLaine have supporting roles. Based on a true story - which I won't tell you about, because I knew nothing going in, and it was more interesting that way - it's about a very very nice funeral director who befriends a rather nasty old lady. The story is largely told through interviews with townspeople, and while Jack Black is delightful, they (and their use of language) are the real stars of the show. It's a real kick in the pants, lots of fun.

Iron Sky
When this movie ended, my friend Daniel turned to me and said "My god, it really was about Nazis on the moon!" Yes. Yes it was. A totally silly film about an American astronaut in a semi-dystopian future (the US president is a somewhat older looking Sarah Palin type, usually found on her elliptical machine) who stumbles upon a Nazi colony on the dark side of the moon. There are occasionally humorous moments of satire (the astronaut is black, and one of the first things the Nazis do is to make him white), but nothing especially insightful.  Campy and ridiculous, not quite as much fun as I was hoping (it's no Dead Snow, alas), but amusing enough.

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