02 December 2013

Dispatches from the Gezici Festival

Expect a lot of short updates over the next week, because the Gezici Festival is in town! Hooray! I've got tickets to another 7 films, I think? So lots of movies this week. Last night, I went to:

This is Martin Bonner

A pleasant film, though a somewhat meandering one. Travis is a guy who has just gotten out of prison and is trying to start a new life. Martin works for a faith-based program that helps prisoners transition; he has in fact just moved to Reno, and seems to need some help transitioning himself. As the film progresses, we learn more and more about his life (and all the things that went wrong in it). It's an understated film, but the parallels between the two men are interesting, and both actors are so immensely likable that the film manages to be engaging, despite not having much of a plot arc.
  I'm glad that prisoners are getting more screen time these days, and in more thoughtful representations (I haven't gotten around to posting about it, but yes, I totally dug the first season of Orange is the New Black). This movie isn't especially superb, but it's the kind of quiet, contemplative independent film that can be quite pleasant on a Sunday afternoon.

The Impeccables (Kusurzular)

Meh. The story of two sisters staying in the home of their grandmother (who, we learn, died several months earlier). Clearly something is not right, and as the film unfolds, we gradually find out what brought them there, and why they resent each other so much. I guessed it pretty quick, so the movie was a bit flat, because it wasn't a convincing exploration of a relationship between two women, it was two women going through the paces of unfolding a cliché. Though I did think both women played their roles quite well and seemed very talented; it's a pity they didn't have a better film to showcase their abilities.
  One thing that is kind of amusing/interesting is that at different moments, each of them totally snaps off and starts screaming at the other. Turkish women are remarkably good at this. If you've seen it in person (and I have), it's pretty dramatic: they can go from zero to sixty, regular indoor voices to shrieking, in seconds. I don't know if it's something about the language that is particularly conducive to it, or it's a cultural thing, but oooweee! It's the kind of thing that makes you immediately go "ok, ok, ok, fine, whatever you want, whatever will make you stop." Not to generalize (I'm totally generalizing), but I think white American women are so socialized to be quiet that they just can't muster that kind of volume, especially on such short notice. Maybe American women of color can pull it off, sometimes? But the Turkish version is especially impressive because it's so high pitched, which makes it especially hard on the ears. I find it absolutely enthralling.
...but it doesn't really make this movie worth watching.

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