Monday, September 22, 2008

nothing but popcorn for a week

We currently immersed in offerings from the Calgary International Film Festival, but with 150 films being shown in 10 days, our heads would explode if we attempted to see more than even a fraction of them. Fortunately, the Resident Film Student put her considerable cognitive abilities to work and narrowed our list down to 5 films that we are obviously interested to see and are not likely to ever see anywhere else.

The Resident Film Student prepared for this film immersion week by working as an extra on Saturday. The board of education was filming at her school and all the film studies students were hired on to pretend they were students. They were fed tuna sandwiches and spent the day hanging around in the cafeteria between takes. The RFS did get a supporting actor role as chemistry student #2, but aside from that was bored to death, spending a beautiful Saturday
inside at school for fifty bucks. Ricky Gervais did not make an appearance.

But yesterday, being cool and rainy, was a perfect day on which to huddle in a dark art house theatre to watch a foreign film. Mexico's Partes Usadas (Used Parts) is the tale of Ivan, a 14-year-old car parts thief. This film crept up on me, in that I started out with mild interest in Ivan, his friend Efrain, and his car parts dealing uncle Jamie, mostly feeling astonishment at how hard they actually worked at their trade. But about halfway through the film, I realised that I cared greatly what happened to these boys and their dreams of a better life in America. So it was that I was watched in trepidation as they took greater and more dangerous risks in their attempts to save enough money to pay a human trafficker to take them to Chicago. Things, as I feared, did not end well.

Friday is going to be our marathon day at the Film Festival, with THREE films on tap:
The 27 Club (USA) - road film about a musician dealing with the death of his partner. This one is at the Plaza, who have the best popcorn and it's served in buckets. A small popcorn will be consumed here, we must pace ourselves.
Full Battle Rattle (USA) - the story of the virtual Iraq built in the Mojave desert to aid in urban warfare training. The next two films are at Eau Claire theatre, and I'm thinking coffee and maybe some chocolate for this one - the sweet break between the buttery popcorns.
The End (UK) - black and white British gangsta film. Definitely time for some more popcorn; they use lots of butter at Eau Claire, so that will make for an excellent and nutritious supper.

And on Sunday, we will usher out the Film Festival with XXY (Argentina) - a coming of age story of a teenage hermaphrodite. Needless to say this should be an eye-opener. Definitely calls for a culinary blowout with which to close out the festival - popcorn and chocolate.

How about you? Have you seen any good foreign films lately?
Do you like dubbing or subtitles?
(I'm a subtitle fan myself, always hoping to learn another language through osmosis.)


Gifted Typist said...

I love film fests.
WE just had our film fest and I got to zero films. In past years I would try for one film a day. Sometimes life just gets in the way.

Have fun, maybe you can recommend something

Remi said...

I finally got to experience the Toronto film fest this year. I'm neither for nor against subtitles, but I do like a good foreign flick every once in a while. By the way, if you get get a chance to see the Icelandic film White Night Wedding, do so. It was the best thing I saw at TIFF.

Sadly, I spent most of my time in theatres that had the gall to offer up a popcorn "topping". This is, of course, just wrong and an affront to popcorn lovers everywhere.

The last film festival I went to was in the mid-nineties in Sudbury. The best part of that one was Bruce McDonald introducing Hard Core Logo - still my all-time favourite Canuck flick.

Anonymous said...

I wanna go!

We have a few small festivals here, and I've never been to those either. But yours sound so much better for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Um, that last one was me. I do not know why I was anonymous.


We aren't partaking this year but have written down a few titles to see if I can dig them up later.

I love foreign films with subtitles. I can't read a subtitle however unless the soundtrack is at a reasonable audio level. You know just in case I miraculously understand the language they are speaking.

mellowlee said...

Wow, sounds like you have your week all tied up and in a GREAT way :O) A coworker is taking all next week off for the Vancouver Film Fest. She does this every year. Maybe I will do the same next year. I really enjoy subtitles over dubbing. Enjoy the films, and take it easy on the popcorn ;O)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

A film a day is pretty ambitious, Gifted. You win! I think I may end up plotzing after doing three in one day. Sweat pants will definitely be recommended.

That would have been so cool, Remi, having Bruce McDonald doing the intro! Are you excited about the series of sequels planned for Hard Core Logo? Apparently they've figure out how to deal with Joe Dick's death.
There are a bunch of Icelandic films at the festival this year, but I am not going to be able to see any of them. I'm thinking what I should just do is go to Iceland in person someday.

Our film festival is actually starting to turn into a sort of big deal, Justrun aka Anony. The fancy celebs show up and everything,just like at a real film festival.

I always figure I can teach myself a new language within those two hours, Urban. Subtitles always make me so hopeful that way.

I think I've got my pacing figured out on the popcorn consumption, Mellowlee. Strangely I only ever get butter on it at the film fest, probably because we go to movie houses where they have real butter.
You should go next year!

bloody awful poetry said...

Aaaah film festivals....
The XXY one sounds really interesting, and one I'd definitely keep an eye or two out for.

I am not a big fan of dubbing at all, but subtitles are perfectly fine. Everything on Malaysian TV is subtitled all the time anyway, so after a decade or so you learn to happily ignore them when they are not needed.

As for the foreign film thingie, you should check out Valentin (that Argentinian kid is adorable) and Pan's Labyrinth, if you haven't already, because it is bloody awesome!

BeckEye said...

I'm not a big foreign film fan. The last one I saw was The Orphanage (or L'Orfanato, whatever) and it was one of the best movies I've seen in a loooong time. With a story that good, I barely noticed the subtitles.

dguzman said...

I like how the hermaphrodite film calls for "culinary blowout."

You're so cool to actually take your family to these films. I always plan on going to a few films, fall victim to last-minute inertia, then spend the evening with some homemade popcorn and an entire season of Buffy on DVD.

Remi said...

More HCL is definitely a great thing. It just sucks that Joey Ramone won't be around to cameo like he did no Roadkill.

I'd always sort of wanted to see Iceland in the same manner that I'd like to see Antarctica and Siberia - more wishful fancy than actual goal - but now I really want to go. I think I'm going to have to start exploring Icelandic lit as that is how I usually start most of my best travel plans.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm with you, BAP, not a fan of dubbing at all, but I'm quite happy with subtitles.
I have not heard of Valentin, I must check into it - thanks. Pan's Labyrinth, while very dark, was certainly compelling.

I LOVED The Orphanage, Beckeye! To tell you the truth I didn't even notice any subtitles either. I was too busy being shit-scared.

I actually can't wait to see the Hard Core Logo sequels, Remi. I am very curious to see what Billy has been up to, not to mention, how does Joe come back to life.
I am mesmerized by the idea of Iceland. There was a large Icelandic community where I grew up, and when you add Bjork and Sigur Ros into the mix, well, I have go to see this place someday.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Argh! I missed your comment, Dguzman! Forgive me, sweetie! Last minute inertia, oh I am all too familiar with that! I generally stick to Mythbusters when I succumb to it, but with the same results. I just don't blog about those nights.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'll be there with you in spirit.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Just don't hog the arm rest, Dr M.

justacoolcat said...

You have way too much going on in that city of yours. I have no idea how you keep up.

Will said...

How about that? Her first film appearance. Very exciting!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's why I had to quit my job, JustA, no time for frivolous things like work.

And you just know those board of education films will get massive distribution, Will.