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Filmfestivalen 2015

Release the Draken!

I'm a bit concerned. For the last gazillion years, or at least twelve, I have been volunteering at Göteborg Filmfestival, working alongside the awesomest people at the best picture house in all the land, leaving me free to watch as many films as possible at my leisure. As such, I didn't need to plan so much ahead and buy tickets, I could just watch any film that happened to be the talk of the town at a whim. This year, however, I attend the movie extravaganza as a regular Joe, wielding tickets and all. It will feel different, but I just know, once I sink down in those comfy chairs, that the screen will, as it always does, take me away to far off places, to meet interesting, lovely, sordid, boring and hilarious people. And experience films I will, wielding tickets and all.


Relatos salvajes (Wild tales)

Comedy Posted on 2015-01-31 01:53:07

Stories-not-quite-woven-together-anthology by Damián Szifron, Argentina 2014

In a series of thematically, though not narratively, connected stories, we get to follow different people giving retribution to perceived slights, often in exaggerated manners. A plane where the passengers share a common acquaintance, a man whose life shatters, triggered by a parking violation and a bride discovering something on her wedding feast are some of the stories told in this Argentinean Oscar contribution.

With black humour and a grey and gray morality, Damián Szifron delivers a smorgasbord of funny, sad, dark and hilariously over-the-top cinematic dishes. The mood is set straight away with the plane story, as a cynical and mundane take on LOST, and is followed by a breather about a mob boss’ comeuppance. With hints of The Duel, Falling down and the Wolf sequence in Pulp Fiction, other stories are presented with the common theme of someone being, at least in their own opinion, wronged and so gives an often disproportionate retribution. Losing control might be the unifying factor, and never clearer so than in the final installment, in which a terrific Érica Rivas gives a performance of a lifetime as a bride who, upon discovering her groom’s cheating on the night of their wedding, turns the woman scorned ante up to eleven. There are some Almodovary vibes, which isn’t surprising, seeing as he’s one of the producers.

Bechdel test: Fail

5 cakes of 6

Merchants of doubt

Documentary Posted on 2015-01-31 01:51:11

Sceptimentary by Robert Kenner, USA 2014

Sceptics have always existed, which is necessary to question what is being held up as truth in all sorts of fields. However, deniers have also always existed, and their mission is not to question, as much as vehemently stick to their preconceived versions of truth, often in spite of overwhelming evidence. As politics and money enter the equation, making people denying inconvenient truths is sometimes needed, and spreading misinformation and doubt is an effective tool, having been utilized in the tobacco industry and transgressed into the climate change denial we see today.

Starting off by setting the mood with a wee bit on a card magician informs us that slight of hand is important in card tricks*, but misdirection and making people focus on the wrong things are more important for the outcome. The same tactics are being used by tobacco lobbyists and advocates for climate change denial; the difference being that the magician and the audience are honest about the fact that it’s all deceit. After some of the most visually pleasing opening credits, the lies and half-truths being used by those denying proper science are exposed in an interesting and unforgiving manner.

I suspect that I enjoyed this film a teeny weeny bit more because it confirms my already held beliefs. This is of course ironic, in an Alanis Morissettean way, seeing that much of the misinformation regarding climate change comes from conservative American media, such as Fox news, who use the very same tactics to cater to their demographic. Nevertheless, ‘Merchants of doubt’ is a thought-provoking and entertaining documentary, and a wake-up call at that.

*) Illusions, Michael….

Bechdel test: Fail

5 cards of 6