Monday, March 05, 2007

So This Is How It's Going To Be...

By the time I finish typing this sentence, it will be tomorrow. What am I doing up? I will be hitting the snooze in five hours. Well, let's just say not having posted a turd since February 20 is just pathetic enough to get my raggedy ass over to the keyboard to hunt and peck my way back into your neglected hearts.

Today was business as usual (i.e., no partner teacher) after a blissful and neglectful weekend at True/False here in Central Standard. Eleven docs in three days, now that's the way to celebrate the first weekend in March, my fellow blogospherians.

Favorites of this year's festival include (in no particular order): several films that I had to sign a press release for, stating that I would not blog, write, or speak about them. This due to the fact that they are still in negotiations with distributors, or they have an official premier at some other festival, or some lawyer just thought it was fun to make a couple hundred people sign a document and see how many of them got paranoid and shit when they accidentally told their mom where they went this weekend. Whatever. Suffice it to say that all of the movies I can't tell you about were so good...I can't even put it into words.

In addition, add Row Hard, No Excuses, a film about a trans-Atlantic two-man rowing race. Yes, people, they row a wooden boat from the Canary Islands to Barbados. It takes anywhere from 42 to 100+ days, and rowers face the elements, sharks, each other, rashes in mentionable and unmentionable places, and the occasional well-aimed flying fish. They must have all of their supplies onboard, and they seem to have a penchant (or a duty or a strategy or something) for rowing in the buff. That notwithstanding, still a winner of a man versus self/man versus nature kind of story.

Another winner: Miss Navajo, a short doc (60 minutes) about the contestants in the Miss Navajo Nation pageant, the only beauty pageant with a sheep slaughtering competition. What about that The Donald?

Also, and perhaps my favorite, Off the Grid, a really remarkable film about a community of people trying to live in a manner that, to them, is truly American: free. It's very Wild West in some ways, with the community observing its own code of laws, eschewing any assistance from most government entities (one cancer-stricken Gulf War (the first one) vet (there are a lot of Gulf War vets living out there--makes you wonder what's going to happen when they finally start bringing the soldiers from this go 'round back home) does visit the VA--but he refuses treatment). It's one of those films where you are watching these people, and in the back of your mind there are two ideas bouncing around: one, these people seem a bit on the eccentric side; but, two, they seem to have some things right. Fascinating subjects, beautiful countryside, tragedy, conflict, music, and skinned goats (a livestock theme will not develop, I promise).

Lastly, but not in any way completely, American Shopper, a documentary truly in the spirit of True/False. Filmed right here in Central Standard, the film was set up by the film makers as a competitive grocery shopping event called "aisling." They came to town about a year ago and promoted this "aisling" thing, putting ads in the local paper, and such. Of course, there is no such thing, or, at least, there wasn't until they invented it. But, this film is not a fiction per se. The directors incorporated the real stories of the real citizens who showed up to investigate this "aisling" phenomenon. So, throughout the film, one wonders, what is real and what is fiction? It's damn hard to tell, and it makes for an excellent, touching, entertaining film. Of course, it is an added bonus to recognize places and people in the film, so it's not easy to be objective, especially when you get to watch your own mayor shake his groove thing with a shopping cart, but I think this film would stand up to any objective test.

That is just the tip of the iceberg and only includes some of the few films that Monkey and I saw. You can't see them all--it's impossible.

Oy! It is way past maximum bedtime, and I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the past two weeks.

I will have to get back to you. I hope it won't be in fourteen days.


Magdalene said...

Welcome back Central Standard Blogger! Nice to see you back. To help you get back into it, you've been TAGGED...see my blog for details, and HAVE FUN. :) Your critiques/descriptions of those movies have totally whet my I only hope they will be available in some format across the pond.

Anonymous said...

Reda, welcome back! Phew, what an empty fortnight it has been without you.

Thanks for providing what overview you were able. We'd hate for you to "cross the double yellow" as it were. I'm glad you had a great time, and I'm disappointed to have missed it!