As I write this, the clock strikes 12AM on Saturday morning, and I come upon a realization: I’m going to be doing quite a lot of hustling this week. For the past two nights, I’ve hustled from work to cinema, cinema to concert, concert to computer, and computer to (presumably) bed. And those were the easy days. My weekend docket includes an intimidating 10 films. As I’m very fond of sleep, I have to figure out a way to write faster.
Here it goes. My first film of the fest – and my only film on Thursday – was ATTENBERG, a Greek slice-of-strange directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari, the producer of the 2010 NaFF standout DOGTOOTH and 2012 NaFF entry ALPS. 23 year old Marina gropes for some kind of connection with someone other than her dying father and her best friend Bella. Somewhere around the third or fourth silly walk, I wondered if all the weirdness was thrown in for weirdness sake. But oddly, it didn’t distract from a very touching portrait of a girl in transition. I really enjoyed this film.
Oh, and the soundtrack features a Daniel Johnston song. Tip of the hat to the king of awkward / beautiful.
My sole flick on Friday was BESTIARE, a near-wordless experimental documentary by CURLING’s Denis Côté. BESTIARE was mostly recorded in a Canadian safari-park, featuring long takes of the various animals exhibited. Near the beginning, I wondered if the director was too in love with his prettily-framed shots. That hunch soon faded as I became washed in equal portions of awe and fidgetiness (the Bela Tarr effect). The film was not about the animals, who we see prodded in cages, gawked at in their habitats, and eventually stuffed and hung on the wall. Rather, BESTIARE is a film about humans and their control of the world. We never see the animals in natural environments. Every frame reveals a human’s mark: a cage, a pen, a feeding bowl. In one scene, a baby chimp hugs a teddy bear, presumably a surrogate mother. The chimp doesn’t seem to notice that the teddy bear is upside down.
Tomorrow (or I should say this afternoon), I’m banking on PILGRIM SONG and V/H/S to be the day’s winners. I’ll also most likely check out the rock docs THE GODMOTHER OF ROCK & ROLL: SISTER ROSETTA THARPE and LOUDER THAN LOVE: THE GRANDE BALLROOM STORY. And because I have a soft spot in my heart for Lizzy Caplan (TRUE BLOOD, PARTY DOWN), Alison Brie (MAD MEN, COMMUNITY), and Martin Starr (FREAKS & GEEKS, PARTY DOWN), I’m on for the potentially-hazardous American romcom SAVE THE DATE.
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Tony Youngblood is a film and music snob and producer of the experimental improv music blog and podcast Theatre Intangible. His favorite films include Eric Rohmer’s The Green Ray, Abbass Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us, Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician, Lee Chang Dong’s Oasis, and Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap.