Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone was about penniless squatters attempting to find human connection on the streets of Kuala Lampur. It was extremely minimalist: very little plot and almost no dialogue, which along with the microscopic look at poverty made it a little had to watch.
After giving his ultra-serious side a workout for the past few films, Danish director Lars Von Trier got to have some fun with his comedy The Boss of It All about a sneaky businessman who suddenly has to hire an actor to portray the mysterious boss of the company that he’s made up over the years in order to manipulate his staff.
Severance was a fun little British horror comedy movie about a team-building weekend for a likeable, sit-comish office staff that goes terribly wrong when it becomes clear someone wants them all dead.
And then on Monday I actually managed to see four:
Every year at the festival we get treated to the one or two most controversial films out of Japan and Whispering of the Gods definitely qualifies. Full of somewhat contrived scenes of sexual perversion, it concerns a disturbed young man struggling to master the world of sex, molestation, and violence he’s growing up in.
Hula Girls, on the other hand, was one of the sweetest, most sentimental comedy-tearjerkers I’ve ever seen. It was about teenager girls in a dying coal-mining town in Northern Japan in the late 60s who set out to become hula dancers at a faux Hawaiian resort being built nearby even if it means being disowned forever by their traditional families. Definitely one of my favorites so far.
Another favorite was Cruel Winter Blues about two gangsters who come out to a small town to settle a score, but soon find themselves questioning their careers and wanting to stay. Basically, it’s a South Korean crime version of “Local Hero” and like that film it’s excellent.
Change of Address was a breezy, French comedy about a good-looking, but painfully naive French horn player looking for love, sex, and roommates in Paris. It was a a bit obvious how things would end up though since one of his love interests had enough personality for two characters and one was given no personality at all. Although I suppose that was poking a bit of fun at how often the opposite happens in American romantic comedies.