Revanche told the story of Alex, a custodian at a Austrian brothel, who has big plans to strike it rich and run away with his Ukrainian prostitute girlfriend. The gritty storyline was a bit too predictable, but still very good.
Directed by Duncan Jones (aka David Bowie's son Zowie), Moon was about a mechanic (Sam Rockwell) working a lonely three-year stint on a moonbase, accompanied only by a cheery computer (Kevin Spacey doing his best HAL 9000), who becomes disturbed when it appears he's not as alone as he thought he was.
DAY THREE: Saturday, I was feeling a little hungover, but made it to three movies.
Although the final product was not as funny as it sounds, The Joy of Singing had a great screwball comedy setup with various spies signing up for a singing class in hopes of beating the others to some top secret data believed to be in the possession of a young widow.
Kisses was a great Irish film about two kids, a boy and a girl, who run away from their abusive homes to look for the boy's older brother who disappeared years earlier into the slums of the city. As depressing of a setup as that may sound, the move is full of charm and adventure.
I gave myself a few hours off from the festival to have dinner with K. and watch season finale of Leverage, then it was back to the festival...
Based on a popular Japanese manga, 20th Century Boys I was interesting but a little too slow for my tastes. The story concerns a group of schoolboys who create a book of prophecies as a game and their battle as adults against the terrifying cult that emerges from it.
DAY FOUR: On Sunday, I made banana nut waffles and curried pork & shitake empanadas, so that K. won't starve while I'm festivaling. She was so overjoyed that she joined for my first two films of the day.
In the beautiful little Italian fishing town that is the setting of Marcello, Marcello, there is a tradition that when a girl comes of age, every boy in town brings her father a gift and that boy is allowed to take her on a date. Marcello, in love for the first time with the Mayor's daughter, knows the perfect gift, but acquiring it is going to take a lot of work. Very cute movie.
Back Soon was an unexpected pleasure. The quirky, funny tale follows Anna, a poet and pot dealer, through a series of misadventures and the collection of potheads who build up at her house waiting for her to get home. I'm more than a little convinced that one of the potheads was played by the guy I saw ranting about hot dogs and corporations when I was in Iceland.
Then I said goodbye to K., got unseasonably pelted with huge, icy chunks of hail, and took refuge at Sugar Mom's where I drank hard cider, ate a chicken club, and got quite a lot of writing done before heading off to my last film of the night.
It's nice getting to see a sequel one night after part one. 20th Century Boys II wss a lot more fun than the first. The story get better, the zanier it gets. Unfortunately, I have no idea when I'll get to see part three.
DAY FIVE: Monday, I foolishly dressed for Spring despite fierce Winter winds.
Dioses, probably my first Peruvian film, was about a young working class beauty living with a rich, older man, while struggling to establish herself in his high society lifestyle, and about the rich man's two adult children, who are so used to their spoiled and pampered life that they struggle to solve even their most basic problems.
The Brothers Bloom, starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel Weisz, is about orphan two con artist brothers and the eccentric, rich woman they choose as their mark. The film looks great, the acting is excellent, and the relationships between the characters is pretty solid. Unfortunately, the cons themselves are lame. If you've seen even a single David Mamet con film, you're likely to be disappointed by their dull and silly schemes (especially since they hired Ricky Jay to do the voiceover narration at the beginning of the film).
During my free hours, I met up my with festival buddy Michael for some burgers and beers at Misconduct, which sounds like a strip club but is actually just an oddly named nautical-themed pub that makes the most amazing pickles in Philadelphia.
Left Bank was a very cool Belgian psychological horror film about an runner, whose body begins unexpected letting her down in strange and creepy ways, just as she's becoming involved with a new man. I don't think the filmmaker really thought his story through very well (especially as evidenced by comparatively schlocky ending), but that didn't really matter, because the film had already sold itself with its atmosphere and acting.
My second brothel film of the festival, The Chaser is a Korean thriller about a sicko who's kidnapping prostitutes and the ex-cop turned brothel enforcer who's trying to bring him to justice (hampered as he is by the bumbling actions of the police bureaucracy). As with most South Korean films, it can be really entertaining, but it's a lot bloodier than the norm, which made some scenes not fit together so well for me. Still, a solid flick that will likely get a fast American remake.
And right now I'm preparing to play hooky from my first movie of the day, because I feel like a relaxing morning of blogging, laundry, and having Salt & Pepper Squid delivered to me.