Friday, September 28, 2012

VIFF 2012 - Day 1 Report

Just got back from the opening day of VIFF 2012 and I am worn right out. Who ever knew watching films all day could actually be this draining? Add to that a 90 minute commute each way, and there's not much left in the tank at the end of the day to still competently blog. So I have decided it would be wise to limit my output until the end of the fest. Posting only brief impressions for now and I'll catch up with full reviews and ratings later.

Anyhow, it was a great day, saw three very good films and hats off to the organizers and volunteers. Was impressed how relatively smoothly things went with respect to lineups, all films running on schedule, no projection problems, and fortunately no encounters with idiot spectators.
Rust and Bone (De rouille et d'os)
directed by Jacques Audiard
Every single facet of the film bears the mark of a master filmmaker. Marion Cotillard reminds us again why she deserves to be an international superstar, and Matthias Schoenaerts proves for the second time in as many years why he should be one too. The cinematography is stunning, the soundtrack brilliant (yes even the Katy Perry), and the special effects are flawless. It's not a masterpiece like A Prophet, but even an average Jacques Audiard outing is miles ahead of most. He got robbed by the CNC.

Full Review
Long Live the Family! (Rodina je základ státu)
directed by Robert Sedláček
Czech RepublicCzech Republic
Would you believe this is my first live action foray into modern Czech cinema? Either this is an anomaly or not so much has changed in 45 years. It's got professional actors, and a straight forward narrative, but all the other hallmarks of the Czech New Wave are here. Timely satire (just trade Communism for the financial crisis), lots of symbolism, natural characters, pitch black humour out of deadly serious situations, and even a direct reference to Ivan Passer's classic Intimate Lighting. Highly enjoyable.
Children of Sarajevo (Djeca)
directed by Aida Begić
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina
Emotionally powerful stuff. Shades of the Dardenne's, with long constantly moving eye-level shots that follow the lead for the entire film. Occasionally inserted archival footage is absolutely gut wrenching. Solid building of dramatic tension throughout, and brilliant sound design is used to parallel everyday noises with the sounds of war. Lead actress Marija Pikic is a force. But story probably too bleak and unresolved for any Oscar chances.

Full Review


365 moviesandsongs365 said...

It is draining watching arthouse or foreign films, requires intense concentration, particularly if you want to review them all. Probably wise as you say to limit yourself to brief impressions. Pleased to hear Rust and Bone is miles ahead of most. Sleep well!

Michaël Parent said...

Big day! Even if sometimes it makes you saturated I would be glad to participate at some fest like this! Rust and Bone looks awesome!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Had a terrible sleep. Couldn't stop analyzing these films in my head, heh. But that's OK, I have a shorter overall day planned today.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It is great. Audiard does things that are so blatantly manipulative, and yet it still feels refreshing.

d_4 said...

I can believe Katy Perry works on a soundtrack. She's got a nice voice and I'm sure picking a song out works. The modern Czech being so similar to what you've seen kinda makes me happy, because what little I've seen is pretty great. Would be nice to maybe catch something on a big screen.

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