AFI Film Report...
The AFI Film Festival is now officially over. There were about 135 films from 40 countries but I only managed to get into 20 or so.
The two winning films were a romanic comedy from Denmark titled Old, New, Borrowed and Blue and the best documentary went to Beah: A Black Woman Speaks, which is about actress, poet and activist Beah Richards. Of course, I missed both of these films. But I saw plenty of others as anyone who has been reading my blog for the last week can attest.
Here are the final blurbs.
Blind Shaft (8) - Using a fable as an outline first time director Li Yang makes a comment about some of the evils of capitalism in China. The story revolves around two killers who take jobs in mines and lure unsuspecting workers - whom they befriend - into blind mining shafts and kill them. After the deaths they find a way to collect money on the death by pretending that the person they killed was a direct relative of theirs. Gritty and realistic with great character development the film was illegally shot in and around real coal mines and has been banned in China.
Kitchen Stories (7) - A subtle character driven comedy (of sorts) about a friendship that develops between a Swedish Kitchen scientists and an older Norwegian man. The film by Brent Hamer has a bizarre premise in which scientists come to observe and take elaborate notes on the movements of people in their kitchens. The idea is to develop a model kitchen that will serve people the best. Not quite dead-pan but a very restrained and quiet film that pays off in the end.
Pornography (6) - Probably the most intellectually rigorous film I saw at the festival this Polish film by Jan Jakub Kolski takes place in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943 and deals with a writer and filmmaker who pay a long visit to a country estate as the war unfolds. The two play mind games with the young Lolita-like daughter of the estate owner and make bets that they can get her to fall out of love with her fiance and in love with her male childhood friend. All the while as they orchestrate this mean game history is orchestrating or playing them. Beautifully shot and edited the film simultaneously has engaging characters and a cold narrative structure. In short, it is not very involving but it builds to a strong ending. This is the kind of film that probably require two viewings to get everything and in time I may rate it higher. Or maybe I'll just read the book by Witold Gombrowicz.