Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Newark Film Fest

Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a Werner Herzog creation which is about the Chauvet caves. These caves were sealed off by a rock slide about 20,000 years ago so that when they were discovered by cavers on 13 December 1994, they were remarkably preserved. Some of the art in the caves is 38,000 years old. Herzog got permission from the French government to film the cave for this film which was released in 2010. Herzog narrates in fairly good English but also invites some French scientists and a perfumer who have accents that make them a sure winner for a Maurice Chevalier talk-alike contest. They were so laughable that I expected Peter Sellers to come on screen at any minute. The three dimensional photography of the caves is spectacular, but the broken English interviews is more absurd than any Pink Panther episode and the Herzog epilog was most puzzling.

Double hour (Doppia ora), 2009, directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, is a complex thriller about a hotel maid who meets a former policeman at a speed dating session. The two seem to click, but then events take a somber turn as they start their romance. Kseniya Rappoport emanates a waif-like character who is absolutely fascinating.

Another excellent film was Beginners – a poignant film which seemed to focus on homosexuality but in the end was a story about how to find, keep and live with love. Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor were excellent in their roles as classic American father and son seeking love from each other and from others.

The Trip, 2011, was a pleasant surprise to me – having heard that two Brits have a contest in sarcasm on a long trip to Yorkshire to eat good food; I thought I couldn’t stand it, but friends wanted to go and I was surprised at how good it was. Michael Winterbottom directs Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (both well-known comedic actors in the UK) and gives them plenty of liberty to improvise.

The last film on the schedule was Trollhunter (Trolljegeren), 2010, was directed by Andre Orvedal. Made in documentary style, this film has some wonderful moments played as straight as an arrow: three billy goats on a bridge, government paperwork to fill out when a troll is killed and some spectacular trolls and special effects.

After the film, my friend Pam pulled out her hand troll puppet and let him greet the two guys dressed as trolls and waiting for the crowd to leave the last film of the festival.

See www.newarkfilm.com

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