Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Telluride Film Festival

i made my 4th trip to telluride film fest this year which i love for its combination of beautiful colorado mountain town, thought provoking indy films and amazingly interesting people. following are my picks from this year...

"Nobody Knows" (My Rating = A) this Japanese film is a true story about 4 kids (ages 5-12) who are abandoned by their mother in a small tokyo apartment. the oldest has to raise the rest and be ever more resourceful as his meager resources run out. the movie was superbly made on a shoe string budget (i got to buy the director a coffee afterwords). the message that hit me hard was one of extreme guilt. many of us in america have incredible means and capacity to help starving abandoned children but dont. i think that we mostly feel helpless and overwhelmed. if only there was a way we could stumble across these needy kids, be the one to walk to discover them somewhere and pick them up and save them...i know that giving money to big institutional charities that dole it back out is good but too disconnected for me. i left this film resolved to find a better way to help. we'll see if i can...the film also gives a great view of the 'real' tokyo, or the daily life tokyo as opposed to the more glitzy and beautiful version we got in 'lost in translation'.

"Finding Neverland" (My Rating = A) - this is the true story of the playwrite who created 'Peter Pan', starring johnny depp, kate winslet and dustin hoffman. despite it's being a major release film (which you can see near you!), i loved it. i'll even admit that i cried throughout. made me want my own group of kids to play with every day.

"Yes" (My Rating = A-) - this movie by sally potter (who has an amazing story herself) and starring joan allen, was by far the most innovative and creative at the festival. the film which deals with the affair between a middle aged english woman and an islamic immigrant cook is brilliantly written in a poetic rhyming verse and offers a great perspective on marriages gone bad as well as providing a believable, empathetic view of how the islamic world may see the west. in one powerful exchange the islamic lover asks 'do your people know one word of my language?' which sunk in for me.

"Kinsey" (My Rating = B) - this is the true story of alfred kinsey, famous for creating the 'kinsey report' in the 50's and 60's which chronicled the sex lives of thousands of americans. the story itself is shocking. i never realized that as recently as the 1960's the bulk of americans were totally ignorant about 'normal' sex practices and left wondering alone whether their problems, questions and issues were solvable. lyam neesan is great. the movie will be a great home rental:)

"Upside Down" (My Rating = B-) - interesting movie from check republic offers an entertaining perspective on post communist life.

"Palindromes" (Rating = B)<) - i'll have to admit that i didnt feel smart enough to completely get this movie though it grew on me after some more insightful friends later explained it. this film deals with a runaway who (apparently) represents all runaway girls and her trauma dealing with an unwanted abortion (meaning she DID want the baby), which again apparently represented all abortions. we see the girl appear in the form of many different girls which i didnt totally get till walking out. i would say this was more thought provoking than entertaining. i met the former film critic for the nytimes on the way out who seemed to get it and like it more. guess that's why they made him a critic and not me:). i'd catch this one on late night IFC channel after exhausting your tivo'd episodes of sopranos, simpsons and larry david.