17 October 2009

Raging Sun, Raging Sky; Looking for Eric; Little Moscow; Case Unknown

The International Film Fest is in full swing here, and I've been livin' it up. I've also been lazy about updating, so we've got a lot to cover, and ima do it quickly.

Raging Sun, Raging Sky:
The first movie we saw. We had actually wanted to see something else (a lot of other things), but everything was sold out, so we got tickets to this. Only later did we notice that it was 191 minutes long. yowzers.
So first off - seriously, it's really long. It's so long that it becomes an Experience. You doze off, wake up, and you're still there. Lifetimes pass. The thing is though, it really didn't need to be that long. You could shave an hour off easy, and in fact, the movie would be vastly improved.
This is a pretty advanced level artsy film. As in, the cinematography is gorgeous, the movie is heavily symbolic (even venturing into primal scenes of goddesses, wandering through deserts, and of course butt sex) and the plot makes very little sense.
But for all it's flaws, there was something moving about it. Maybe it's because I've been thinking about epics so much lately, but there was something interesting about how it played with the conventions of origin myths by centering around male homosexual relationships. Also, the main hero had a lovely smile.
A final thought - there was lots of gay male sex in this movie, ranging from loving consensual to brutal rape. It occurred to me that generally, when one sees gay male sex in movies, it's awfully brutal and looks painful and unpleasant, even when it's consensual and between two guys who care about each other (think of Brokeback Mountain). What's up with that?

Looking for Eric:
De-lightful. The main character is a down-on-his-luck dude who is on the verge of ending it all when Eric Cantona, former Manchester United star, magically appears as a guardian angel. As my bf put it, the movie has it all - action, humor, romance, guns, drugs, sports footage. It's a jolly good time, if a wee bit sentimental.

Little Moscow:
Patriotism makes me want to support this movie, but god it sucked. A forbidden love story with political overtones. A Polish town that is essentially occupied by Russians in the 60s, an adulterous love affair between a Polish officer and the songstress wife of a Russian officer. The wife sings Ewa Demarczyk songs in Polish, which is a really big deal. Her Russian husband is a preposterously nice, good-hearted guy, and one has no idea why she'd cheat on him with this arrogant potato-faced Pole (apologies to Lesław Żurek, who was at the screening and is actually a babe in real life, but his character was NOT charming). SPOILER ALERT. The movie tries to sell itself as this tragic love story, saying she killed herself out of love for him, but it also can't resist implying that really it was the evil Russians who killed her. The coproducer, also at the screening, mentioned that they wanted to work with the Russians on the movie - it doesn't portray them negatively! Uh, really? Yeah, no surprise that one didn't work.
Anyways, point being, it's melodramatic and boring and not a good movie. Curiously enough, Żurek has apparently been in a movie directed by Ken Loach - who directed Looking for Eric. Small world!

Case Unknown:
Again, patriotism issues. I thought it was pretty boring. My mom liked it though. Borys Szyc, who was awesome in Wojna Polsko-Ruska (why oh why aren't they showing that at the festival?) was not as great in this one, mostly because he had this absolutely ridiculous haircut.
The movie can't decide whether it wants to be an inspiring medical drama or a thriller. So it piles on various bits of plot, many of which are both unnecessary and unconvincing. There's a sideplot about the main character's father that is cliche, unneeded, and unclear all at once. The plot is garbled, and starts to drag. The characters are too scattered to be convincing. It's a pity, because there are things about it that are clever - the ending is surprisingly UN-cliche, which is nice, except that by then I had lost interest and just wanted it to be over. Szyc, despite his awful haircut, is kind of compelling. The guy who plays the patient is extremely charming.
But I still didn't like it.

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