Sunday, February 17, 2013
Roughly Four Months Ago: Notes from Pelicula 2012
After (Alberto Rodríguez, 2009) For the same director who did “Grupo 7”, this is a display of versatility. It's about three friends in their 40's who had their own share of epiphany after an evening of drugs and booze. In short, it’s a film about the so-called midlife crisis as told in a Rashomon-like style. The intertwining stories may look old and overdone but it still delivered the goods.
Hollywood Talkies (Óscar Pérez and Mia de Ribot, 2011) I have never seen a documentary this weak. It's a reminder that if you don't have enough data, don't do it yet. To make up, it used some old photos of its subjects that are flashed on screen for about 20 to 30 seconds each, combined with a scary mood music and a narration that seemed like a reading from a Googled information. In between are some odd videos of the beach, old buildings and streets. It has no interviews, no details on the period, just random stories from an interesting, bygone era.
Cortos Vascos: Amar (Isabel Herguera), Flock (Asier Altuna), Daisy Cutter (Enrique Garcia and Ruben Salazar), Exhibition 19 (Alaitz Arenzena and Maria Ibarretze), The Great Race (Kote Camacho), Everything’s Alright (Miguel Angel Jimenez), A Crappy Boyfriend (Borja Cobeaga), Mouths of Sand (Angel Aldarondo) and The Award (Leon Simiani) All in all, it’s an interesting mix of short films. Memorable scenes include the meet up of the chirping crowd in “Flock”, the running kid in the animated “Daisy Cutter”, the arguing couple in “The Award” (with this one, I was thinking of the Buencaminos) and the irresistible metaphor in “A Crappy Boyfriend”. But my favorite has to be “The Great Race” which is in B&W. I wasn’t so sure what the statement it is trying to convey (could be the passion for betting) but the unmanned horse race got me.
Dos Hermanos (Daniel Burman, 2010) This is my favorite among the films that I saw from the lot. It’s about siblings Marcos and Susana in their 60’s who have no choice but to reconcile their differences after their mother died. It’s actually a comedy but very restrained. It’s also very accessible in terms of character study. The personalities in focus are very interesting. One is very loud and outspoken while the other is exact opposite. The use of Argentina and Uruguay as neighboring countries is a good metaphor for this brother-sister movie; they look close but not always entirely.
5 Metros Cuadrados (Max Lemcke, 2011) This is very similar to what our very own Joel Lamangan could do if given a chance. It’s a take on oppression as seen from the point-of-view of a middleclass couple who spent what they have and bought a home from a problematic construction company. The last few sequences are very much similar to Brocka’s “Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim” only more melodramatic and less subtle. It could be a statement on Spain’s recent economic woes and in that aspect, the film is very relevant.
Madrid, 1987 (David Trueba, 2011) Among the bunch of entries, this one is probably the most polarizing. For around 104 minutes, the movie injects claustrophobia through a conversation between a young and beautiful student and an old journalist both trapped in a bathroom somewhere in Madrid. It’s actually an interesting proposition considering the age gap and what could have been the opposing views, no matter how twisted, of the two characters. Along the way, I got bored and lost track of the essence of it. Maybe there are some points there that could only be truly appreciated if I were a local.
18 Comidas (Jorge Coira, 2010) I capped the festival with a feel-good indie film about food. It is set in a city known for good cooking with a series of short stories that displays how a meal serves as a sounding board to some people. There’s this small time actor who waits for her date from breakfast to dinner. There’s a bored housewife who invites her musician ex-boyfriend for lunch. A gay couple’s meal for a visiting brother suddenly turns awry. A young woman tries to end an affair with a married guy over dinner. A sister follows her luck on music after working to a family-owned restaurant for some years already. And then there’s an old couple who does nothing much in life than eat together in a small apartment.