F 1 D 0 -- 02 03 29 at 00 30

North of Superior Film Festival.

I should have written this 
report of the festival closer
to the weekend when it happened.

It would have had more of the emotions
of each film. 

I loved most if it. I really did. It was
just like a symposium. Or a folk festival.

Except it had nonstop films.

We'd line up outside for the first one. Eventually
they'd let us in.  

"Hello and welcome to this second day
of the North of Superior Film Festival.
We want to thank our Festival Sponsor, 
North Star Mercedes-Benz for making this
possible. (round of applause) Please
visit our sponsors, as they make it possible
for us to purchase the films you are about
to see now. "

And then they'd spend a sentence or
two describing the film itself.

And we watch.

When the film is over, we *run* out the
back door, to line up again in the front
for our next one. There was only a few
minutes of overlap (sometimes there was
a mis-scheduling, and they'd delay the
film to get people who only had a few
more minutes of film to watch).

Amelie was the most popular picture
in this festival.  I liked it too.

This movie was the all time hit for
this festival. The organizers have
added three extra showings and
moved the film into the largest

Subject: Amelie

Amelie is such a feel good
movie. She is a dreamer, because
of how she was brought up. Her
mom and dad were neurotic, and
hardly touched her.

But this doesn't really convey
the film's voice. Sometimes it
announces using an omnipotent
narrator, other times Amelie
looks right into the camera and
speaks for herself.

We get to know all of the people
in her world in a close way. The
artist who paints Monet, the boy
who helps at the green grocer, the
lady who sells cigarettes.  All of
these people are a little off centre,
but in a good way.

Amelie decides that she can affect
people for their good, and becomes
a self-made missionary in the likes
of Zorro. She goes through tremendous
efforts to gas light her friends in
the community, and makes them feel
the better for it.

Amelie finds both her love, and her
dream, after getting advice that
if she doesn't follow her heart, she
will change and become cold.

These are tough times for dreamers.

You'll see plenty of Paris.
The French is spoken clearly
enough for folks like me to
understand the dialog. Yes,
it is subtitled too.

Find it, and see it.

Subject: The Business of Strangers

This story takes place at a hotel
in New Jersey, near the Newark Airport.

It is about two women.

One is a key salesman, who is promoted 
to Chief Executive. But she expects to 
be fired. She has just come into town 
to make a sales presentation to an 
important new customer.

Stockard Channing stars as this character,
and plays her with a pleasant realism. 

The other is a young Audio technician,
who gets fired because she is late, and
misses her opportunity to help at the
presentation. She is played by Julia

The rest of the movie watches the
interraction between these two women.
Both have things they hide from their
past. Both are smart, and effective.

The two of them do a lot of drinking
together, and manage bonding. In the
process, they share secrets and find
out something about a mutual acquaintance.

The film doesn't answer every question
it poses. It leaves you wondering who
was fully honest or dishonest.

It feels like a screenplay. I compare
this to the film "The Big Kahuna" in
how characters grow and express themselves
over time.

The film approaches some barriers, without
crossing them. We see the women Almost kiss,
we see them Almost kill someone, we see a
glimpse of a brasierre, the television shows
a few seconds of porn. It brushes close to
issues without digging into them.

The movie was a study in power 
exchange, I think. At first we
watch the boss vs the staffgirl.
Then the young vs the old. The 
strong vs unexercised. Both of these
people are strong, so the fights
in each area are close.
I found the film realistic enough to buy
into the personalities. It has an ending
which just left me wondering what happened,
as the credits rolled by.

See it.

Subject: Khandahar

This is the story of an Afghani
reporter living in Canada.

She goes back to Afghanistan during
the Teliban period to rescue her
sister, who is going to commit

You see, she set off a mine, and
this tore off her legs. Add to this
how Teliban Afghanistan dealt with
women in general. She saw no hope,
except to end her life.

So our heroine rushes to meet her
before it is too late.

There is no quick way to do this.
She arrives outside Afghanistan
two days before the total eclipse,
the day her sister plans to do this

We as viewers get to see things
unfamiliar to western eyes. Life
in that part of the world. Girls
attending their last day in school.
People desperate for limbs, waiting
at a Red Cross centre. These same
people, replete with crutches, running
to catch some parachuted "legs".

We meet some interesting people. A
doctor who happens to be an African
American, searching for God. A young
boy eager to work for money, and who
drives a hard bargain.

The burka is a theme in this film, which
covers not only the face and body of women,
but describes how everyone must look and
act correctly at all times, or truly suffer.

Like other films from this area
of the world, I've found the character
portrayal just a bit weak, and then
over acted. Just a bit.

I found this film smacked of reality
by how it was handled. It felt like
a documentary film. It ends suddenly.

It didn't test my morals, nor frighten
me. It does say things in a matter-of-
fact kind of way, only highlighting
the veracity of the message.


Subject: Together

Do you remember the Sixties? Living
in a commune? Did you ever do that?

Me neither.

But when you watch this, you get to
see the good and the bad of a bunch
of adults making believe they are a
family. Together is the name of the
commune we are going to live in. We
watch the life of Goran, a kind man
whose gentleness shows what everyone
wants from a commune like this. His
girlfriend Lena is into having an 
open relationship, but what this really
amounts to having the hots for any 
man but Goran. Lasse and Anna have
just divorced, but live together in
the commune, with their child, Tet,
named after the Tet Offensive. Anna
has decided to be lesbian, and Lasse
finds out that he can be gay, if he
gives it a try. 

All of these players have a unique
streak, and manage to live together,
in a fragile way. So if we add Goran's
sister, and her two children, the mix
changes, and we watch this over the

This film shows an interesting
life-goes-on perspective. When it
ended, I found myself crying happily.

It felt familiar. I liked the
Swedish sound, with English
subtitles.  You may as well.

Subject: Mulholand Drive

After you watch a movie like this,
you may not trust anyone from Los
Angeles in the film business again.

Or maybe you will.

We are introduced Betty, played
by Naomi Watts. She is too innocent,
too perky, too Canadian! Yes, she
is supposed to hail from Deep
River, Ontario.  She has all of 
her dreams to become an actress.  

She meets Rita, played by Laura
Elena Harring. She's just been
in a car accident, and cannot
remember a thing.

The first half of this movie we
try to find out who she is, and
why she there.

Suddenly, without too much warning,
everything we relied on for the first
half of the movie changes. 

Like a Star Trek parallel reality,
everyone is present, playing a different

So for the first half of the movie, I
was full of adrenalin, wondering who
would get hurt or deceived.

For the second half of the movie, I 
saw that this may all be some kind of
a dream sequence, and lost all interest
in the characters.

I know something happened. Something bad.

But the details aren't clear. I'm not
sure what happened, and what was just

But David Lynch movies can do stuff
like that.

Subject: Lantana

The movie guide called it a chilling
psychological mystery.

Uh, no. It is not.

It is a study of couples, couched
in a mystery movie.

We begin with Lt Zak, our main
protagonist. We see at the outset
he has an affair.

The girl he's with is just separated
from her husband, and he comes home
sometimes. Zak accidentally meets 
him at a bar, not knowing, and they
have drinks. Oh, they meet again in
the GF's place, and he has to act cool.

This film is full of such entanglements.

What is nice is how realistic each of the
players is. We don't see young perfect
models, but see average folks with average
weaknesses and problem partners. People
who work all day, and come home tired.

I wanted to call this a murder mystery.

Well, it would be if someone was murdered.

It is a foreign film, but is entirely
in English, filmed in Australia.

Subject: Strange Invaders

This animated film is 8.5 minutes
long. I thought it was too long.

The story is about a couple
who get a child from heaven.

Well, he turns life upside down
for them. Eventually ET goes home.

Don't go see this one. Keep 
your money.

Subject: Ceiling Requiem

This story is 30 minutes long. 

A man who listens to Bach and
Mozart is trying to write his
suicide note, but not having 
much luck.

Soon he is disturbed by his
neighbour upstairs, who is playing
contemporary music on his cello.

By the time the film is over,
you the viewer as well as our
suicide guy has come to appreciate
contemporary music.

It doesn't take itself too
seriously. French, with English

Subject: Instant Soup

A romance story. This takes place
in the kitchen and living room of 
Claire. Claire never cooks.

Sam comes over frequently and makes
tea.  He cooks for Claire a lot.

She has a date tonight, and Sam
cooks, but keeps burning things
in the oven, as he gets closer
to Claire. 

He seems to do this to bolster
Claire's insecurity at cooking.

A cute story, but the repeated
failures in the kitchen give it
a more slapstick the serious 

Subject: Un crabe dans la tete

This film follows the life of 
Alex (David la Haye). He's got
a problem. He won't say no, even 
when he should.

He's a brilliant photographer. He
travels and scuba dives.

Still, he gets it in his head to
go to bed with Marie. He says
anything, including lying. She is
cute, she thinks he is cute, but
dislikes the dishonesty.

He is still pursuing her, and 
visits with her mom. To her he
says, "Yes, I love knitting."
Yeah, right.

He meets with a friend who
sells drugs, and is truly 
strung out. She can get him
to do most anything by just
screaming loud.

Later he is consoled by his best
(only?) friend's GF, with whom he
has an encounter at a gallery.

Sounds bad, right?

The film is entertaining, but in
some ways strikes too close to home.
I felt uncomfortable during this
picture, wondering how often I've
said Yes when I meant No.

Subject: Italian for Beginners

What a wonderful love story!

It takes place in Copenhagen.
We meet Andreas, a young priest.
Karen runs a beauty salon, and
has a sick alcoholic mother.
Olympia works in the bakery, and
has a mean father to care for.

There are other people, and the
bunch of them all get mixed up
and the focal point is the Italian
for Beginners class, at the community

There is a pleasant tension as you
wonder whether each of these people
will grow and make the connections
with the one they want.

The grow. They connect.

It resolves, and has a happy ending.

See this one.

Subject: Obachan's Garden

Obachan means grandmother in Japanese.

This film is a living memorial to
Obachan, Asayo Murakami. She was 
103 years old at a party which saw
the gathering of lost bits of her

We follow her history in Japan,
and how she finds herself in Canada.

A lot of the film is acted, and a
lot is interviewing Obachan. 

It is a great documentary. It 
is what every home movie should

Subject: Chunhyang

This movie is two hours long, and is
sung in a traditional way, with a solo
singer in Korean, accompanied by a drum.

We watch the scenes acted out as they're
narrated in song, and in English Subtitles.

It reminded me of Hebrew Cantation.

The story goes very slowly, and
feels like a book where there is
one or two lines at the bottom, 
and there is a picture of exactly
what the sentence is above.

After 30 minutes, I had to leave
the screening. Enough is enough.

Subject: Le gou des autres (the taste of others)

The main protagonist is Mr Castella
(Jean-Pierre Bacri). He owns a big
company, but in spite of that, knows
very little about what things are in
good taste (or bad taste). He has married
a woman who loves animals more than 

We watch him grow. 

He gets to liking the woman who
teaches him English. It gets the
title because he is doing so many
things just because she likes it.

Suddenly, he cries, and becomes a
different man. The next day, we
see him truly self realized. He
has taste of his own, and learns
to cope with pain.  In the process,
he becomes less of a caricature,
and more a real person. 

Things all work out in the end.

I liked this one.

Subject: Films I missed

- Impossible Elephant
- The Son's Room
- Burnt Money
- The War Bride
- Liam

That's all I know.