a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Monday, April 19, 2004

I'm a Wimp: The Philadelphia Film Festival

How could I have known that my problem with getting out to festival films wasn't due to illness but to flat-out exhaustion? Put simply: I'm temporarily sick of movies. I derive nothing but annoyance from them lately. (Though I'm sure my dour reactions to things like A Hanging Offense and Young Adam were valid, if not also the causes.) This happens every now and then; the last time was after a two-week bout with Fassbinder, growing quicklly from having seen merely two of his exactly 3,000 pics to becoming something of an expert. This malady will be over soon. In fact, it will be over tomorrow.

Three more days are left in the fest. Suffice it to say, no annoyance levels will keep me from, say, A Talking Picture or Time of the Wolf. In the meantime, here's my meager -- hideously meager -- list of blurbs for what I saw from Thursday, April 15 to Sunday, April 18. Feel free to tell me I'm wasting another Film Fest:

A Hanging Offense (Guillaime Nicloux, France) Dreary, droopy, drippy and many other adjectives beginning with "dr," Nicloix's stab at crafting a French existentialist policier actually has more in common with No Rest For the Brave. Nicloux too is just dicking around here, employing gobs of fantasy vs. reality and genre conventions vs. abstract solipsism, not to mention general reason for existing vs. just a waste of time. As our suicidal detective, Josaine Bolasko (French Twist) trumps Eastwood and Kitano for the title of Least Expressive Thespian, though Nicloux fills in for her slightly, indulging in dimestore sybolism overload. Still, could've been mildly interesting -- in a silly kind way, of course -- had it also not been so monotonous. C-

Young Adam (David Mackenzie, UK) See above; fill in "Scottish" for "French," "Ewan McGregor" for "Josaine Bolasko," "not doing much of anything" for "dicking around," and any references to detective work with something about Scottish twists on James M. Cain. (Okay, so that's a lot of switching.) David Byrne's dreamy score suggests Mackenzie wishes to make a mood piece, though all he gets is redundancy, with countless sidetracks into a kind of Scottish working class variation on Red Shoe Diaries. (Anyone know if there's a single female on-screen who doesn't shag our anti-hero?) Some appreciative details about barge-life compensate; that Ewan puffs on rolled cigarettes makes me feel cool. Did he have to use them, however, as a substitute for emoting in any small way? And why is this movie entitled "Young Adam" when no one's named Adam and there are no references to anything Adam-esque. Empty and endless. You see why I'm sick of movies, no doubt. C-


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