In this plague year, there are few public events and the ones organised have few seats. But I have managed to see nine festival movies this season, eight at the Stockholm International and one at Asiatiska Filmfestivalen. All except two are from this year and haven’t seen theatrical release yet.
I cycled into town for almost all of the screenings to avoid public transport. Didn’t avail myself of the streaming options. I might have if there had been the normal number of films at SIFF this year.
Four films get my special recommendation:
- Gaza Mon Amour. 60ish bachelor fisherman loves the widow in the ladies fashion store. While working up the courage to approach her, he catches an Archaic statue of Apollo in his net one morning. Quietly funny about shy greying love.
- Love Affair(s). You know how in the cliché French movie everybody is super attractive and they alternate between telling each other about their love lives and cheating on their partners left and right? This is that movie, and quite well executed too.
- The Last Shift. Old white man instructs young black man who is taking over his dead-end fast food job. Disillusioned buddy movie about race and poverty in small town Michigan.
- Pinocchio (2019). Lavish and respectful adaptation of the children’s classic with ace Italian actors and tastefully employed digital effects.
Two were OK:
- The Truffle Hunters. Impressionist documentary about elderly truffle hunters in the Piedmont of Northern Italy. Beautifully staged and shot in Baroque chiaroscuro, but it does kind of go on and on about truffles.
- Nine Days. Souls are auditioned for the chance of being born. The guy who leads the auditions and does the selection is unhappy, then performs Whitman.
And I disliked three feelbad movies so badly that I left or wanted to leave after half an hour:
- House of Hummingbird (2018). Young Korean teen girl goes through nearly unremitting woes at a glacial pace.
- Surge. Repressed young airport security guard quietly going insane. Stressful and awkward.
- Black Bear. Much awkwardness. Drunk people arguing about feminism.
Here’s my capsule reviews from the 2019 Stockholm International Film Festival.