Ok, it was over yesterday evening and now I can sit down and write a little. Since it started, on September 24th, I’ve watched seventeen movies – not all of them part of the festival (4 regular Hollywood flicks). The main connection between the 13 I saw from the Festival’s schedule is they don’t follow standard Hollywood plots, timing, style and all that. Some of them blew me away while I was still in the theatre, others just a few days later, and some I’m still processing and thinking about. An amazing thing that resulted from watching this many films in such a short time is that I really got into thinking about film theory, history and language, stuff that it was kind of stored away since the beginning of my journey towards my film degree.
Ok, enough of random talking and into some of my favorites.
1 – Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta? – Brazil)
Of course the first one had to be from Brazil. It pictures an almost palpable reality, with characters that any brazilian can relate to. I felt like I knew real people to match all of the characters on screen. It starts out playful and fun and then it takes a turn towards tension that isn’t the “horror, life or death” kind, but more of a social thriller, with conflicting classes clashing in every scene, dialogue – or lack of dialogue at all. It’s hard to explain what it really is about for anyone who doesn’t know well how things work in Brazil. It’s a film that packs a punch and I’m really proud of it – even though I have no real link with it except the fact that I’m also Brazilian.
2 – Victoria (Victoria – Germany)
I didn’t read the entire synopsis for this one before watching, it won me at the very first line: “shot in a single take”. As a cinematographer, that alone was enough to justify it, but I wasn’t expecting much, specially because it starts really light and “silly” for the main characters are young and playful. Not cutting even once for its almost two hours and twenty minutes already gets you on the edge of the seat simply because you have no clue of what might be going on in different environments – and yes, you have plenty of reason to worry about what’s going on someplace else. IMDB synopsis spoils the main plot twist which was a hell of a surprise for us (May and I). The thing about continuous shots is they get harder each passing second since new things are happening and there’s so much that can go wrong. Hm, you know what? That kind of sums up the movie way too well. It’s the kind of film that as soon as it’s over, you just wanna watch it again. Oh, and the FIRST name in the end credits is the cinematographer’s – Sturla Brandth Grøvlen. Not the cast, not the director or producers, the cinematographer and yes, he deserved it.
3 – Marshland (La Isla Minima – Spain)
It’s like a spanish take on True Detective, without the excessive talking, and delivered from start to finish in under two hours. It has an amazing visual style, set in the 80’s, shortly after Franco’s dictatorship is over. We follow the investigation led by two detectives with very different styles of handling the missing persons’s case they’re working. It’s a movie that requires your full attention or you’re gonna miss out on some important details. It lacks Hollywood’s obvious style of handling crime movies, which is a great positive point. This one is also already on piratebay, if you feel like downloading stuff, though it’s totally worth of watching in the theatre.
4 – Anomalisa
I found out about this screening by chance, during one of the most empty movies I watched. It was not even noon yet, and the guy introducing the movie mentioned that a Charlie Kaufman single screening had been added to the VIFF list. I sent May a message and bought the tickets right after that movie, we knew it was gonna be full and we weren’t wrong. Shortly before watching it May told me this was a Kickstarter funded film, with Dan Harmon (from Community) as one of the Executive Producers. The movie is all stop motion and it has quite a unique look among all the animated movies I’ve seen before. It felt like watching an epiphany unfolding before my eyes for 90 minutes. Beautiful, crazy and unlike anything you watched so far. I’m not gonna spoil it, just watch it when it’s out!