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 auditorium. 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 Stiles. 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 suicide. 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 thing. 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. Recommended. 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 film. 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 part. 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 dreamland. 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 subtitles. 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 feeling. 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 centre. 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 family. 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 become. 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 people. 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.