Woe is a descriptive theme word for today’s films which doesn’t fit with the quote of the day: “Today is
another precious day so let’s look around us with love.” (from The Rest of the Night)
Ashes of Time Redux — Chinese
Director Wong Kar Wai decided to remake his own film and it is amazing! His use of color in this film had strokes of Zhang Yimou throughout. Beautiful! The music, another superb performance by Yo Yo Ma, is woven into the film in a subtle yet masterful score. The film follows a group of swordsmen as they circle in and out of the life of a reclusive man who is learning about the value of memories as he makes his living by selling their skills to those seeking vengeance. There is violence in this film, you see one finger get cut off– it is a story about swordsmen though. The spurting blood in this film was not, however, as disturbing to me as watching a boy get hit by his father in Tokyo Sonata. The martial arts are beautiful, the cinematography is beautiful, the people are beautiful.
Linha de Passe — Brazil
This film fits the title of today’s post, Wednesday’s child. This is a story set in the gut of São Paolo where people struggle either with or against nearly everything in life — family, church, work, morality. The family includes the pregnant, unmarried mother and her four sons, each member dealing with their own critical personal questions which range from “isn’t there a man around who can unclog this sink?” to “who is my father?” to “have I just killed my boss?” There is plenty of bad language and one graphic sex scene so keep the kids away from this one. If you think you can handle seeing what millions of people are dealing with in their lives every single day then perhaps this should be on your list. Be aware, though, you probably won’t like these people. Life is painful for them and it is painful to watch.
A Year Ago in Winter — German
The third Bavarian film I’ve seen in this festival, this one takes place in Munich and is about a family dealing with the suicide of their son/brother. Mother commissions a portrait of her happy, smiling children while blind to the death of her marriage. Father is too busy being an amazing scientist and the daughter, Lilli, fights against coming to terms with her own remoteness. Nicely done, not amazing, but nice while admitting the difficulty of the situation.
7915 KM — French and many other languages (in and about several countries in Africa)
Documentary following the route of the Dakar off-road rally that crossed 7,915 kilometres of Africa. The film crew interviewed people all along the way about their feelings regarding the race and impressions of Europe, Europeans and themselves. We see Africa as we’ve never seen it before and get an interesting perspective on emigration/immigration and Europe from the respondents. The film dragged a bit at times – or maybe it was just me dragging because I actually fell asleep for about 15 minutes. One thing I did not care for was the rough editing. I wanted to hear the interviewer ask the questions and think it would have flowed much more smoothly, less disjointed, if the questions hadn’t been cut. Is important to see for anyone studying Africa.
The Rest of the Night — Italian
I can’t say much about this film because I left after the first 20 minutes. By then I decided it was going where I didn’t want to go. There were men, drugs, a depressed mother, a hateful daughter, a little boy and a gun, not necessarily in that order but all there. Those were the ingredients of a recipe I didn’t want to try tonight.