I discovered film festivals in 2014, but I didn’t go to one last year because I like my evenings at home and I was working full time at the National Archives then. This year I’ve been able to go to the Stockholm International Film Festival thanks to the telecommuting nature of my current job. But I do spend two days a week in Linköping, and the upcoming final weekend of the festival will coincide with a boardgaming retreat, so I only managed to see 7½ films this year.
My festival M.O. is to first decide when I can see some films, and then watch whatever is on at that time and seems reasonably interesting. Hardly ever do I watch more than two movies on one day, or it becomes a chore. This way I caught three really good ones:
- Cold War / Zimna Wojna. Stormy intermittent love affair between two Polish musicians at home and in exile 1949-64. Pretty monochrome photography.
- Prospect. Low-budget scifi about bio-mineral prospecting on a lawless jungle planet. Strong female teen lead. Way better than most big budget scifi. Would be even better if 15 mins of slack were cut. Take your lower teen kids to this one!
- The Man Who Feels No Pain / Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota. Indian action comedy about a boy who grows up sheltered because of an innate inability to sense pain – and is educated by his grandfather by means of 80s martial arts movies. Smart and funny!
And some OK ones:
- Ex-shaman / Ex-pajé. Slow, largely wordless, beautifully shot semi-documentary about a former village shaman in the Amazon who is now a Pentecostal church warden.
- Girls of the Sun / Les filles du soleil. Traumatised French journalist follows a unit of Kurdish former sex slaves into urban skirmishes against the Daesh. Violent and beautiful. Golshifteh Farahani, oh man…
- EXT. Night. A young film director, a vivacious prostitute and an old cab driver spend a confused night on the town together in Cairo. Engaging characters, vapid dialogue, not much by way of plot.
- The Trouble With You / En liberté!. French romantic comedy about a mentally scarred ex-con and the widow of the crooked cop who put him in jail on false charges.
And one that I left, bored and sleepy, after half an hour:
- Manta Ray / Kraben rahu. Supposedly about a Thai fisherman and Rohingya refugees, though it was hard to tell. Slow, pretty, no dialogue, no action…