Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mexican Wrap (Up).

Jose here (and <=== there for those of you who've never seen me). I got back from the Guadalajara International Film Festival on Sunday and I'm still recovering from the ten most excitingly chaotic days I've ever had. Nat asked me to do a small wrap up of the whole festival experience and first I have to take my hat off to all the journalists, critics and reporters who year after year go through all the screenings, parties, conferences, interviews and venue to venue races of festivals, yet still have the stamina to deliver daily reports, reviews and news about what's going on. I wasn't one of the energetic ones and, on an average sleep of three hours a day, I never could summon enough energy to type everything I wanted to share with you. Therefore I'll give you a quick rundown of my favorite moments right here.

First of all here's a picture of Diego Luna to go with what I wrote last week and for all you girls and guys who think he's dreamy.

Next my recommendations from the festival (seek them out whenever they open near you!)
1. Zona Sur (Bolivia, 2009): think Godardian formalism meets The Maid.
2. Lebanon (Israel, 2009): really I don't know what's wrong with Israel! This movie would've been a lock for the foreign language win in the year of The Hurt Locker.
3. Kinatay (Philippines, 2009): not as shocking and perverted as Ebert would have you think but still superb, taut cinema from a remote land.
4. Garapa (Brazil, 2009): if Michael Haneke and Roberto Rossellini had a child and he made a documentary...
5. Tu (A)mor (Spain, 2009): the most heartbreaking film since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind...and it's ten minutes long!

Pictured to your left is screenwriter Michael Tolkin (The Player, Deep Impact and Nine) who gave one of the most debatable lectures during which he declared new Latin American cinema was like "Fassbinder in the 70's" and declared the end of the Hollywood empire was imminent in artistic terms.

The "next important cinema belongs to you" he said addressing a room full of future filmmakers for whom this was sort of a blessing until he decided to let us know of the actual cruelty in Tinseltown (but honestly what can you expect from the guy who wrote The Player in its book and screenplay incarnations?)

My favorite moment of his conference was when he proved his passion for Latin cinema by showing us his iPhone wallpaper, which featured none other than Magaly Solier from The Milk of Sorrow next to one of those giant Oscars AMPAS uses in all its events.

He told us he's a member of the maligned Foreign Language Film committee and revealed how pleased he was with the inclusion of two Hispanic nominees in the running and as much as he'd liked The Secret in Their Eyes (a film he said could NEVER be made under the current Hollywood studio system which he called Nazi) his vote had gone to Perú.

About Nine he said he was as disappointed by it as most of the world was ( his purpose was to "turn 8 1/2 into a musical not the Broadways show into a movie") and even if he had nothing but great things to say about Rob Marshall's committal to the movie he didn't mention Anthony Minghella once.

Another significant moment was a panel held by four notable Latin American film critics and theorists (all of you who know Portuguese read José Carlos Avellar's work ASAP!) who pledged for the necessity to save film criticism in the age of Twitter and the death of print media. Unlike most people who assume film analysis will die with the disappearance of print outlets, these critics actually were thrilled with the possibility of interactive dialogue with audiences.

As they reminded me, we're not here to destroy or worship movies, our work is to enhance and prolong the viewing experience. We're the ones who remind you why you loved that film so much when you're back home or the ones you wish to punch in the face for not sharing your deep love of the latest gross comedy. And just like you we love going to the movies.

(All photo credits courtesy of Anna Cosenza, I'm the laziest tourist ever so she was my unofficial photographer XOXO)



I think Michael Tolkin is an interesting guy. Wish I coulda been there.

i love that he talked about the foreign language voting. You never hear those stories really. And maybe The Argentinian film won because the field was so atypically strong and in a field of very critically acclaimed film --when no one feels obligated to vote for the one masterpiece (White Ribbon would've had an easier time in a weak field), the most traditional film will usually win. my theory at least.

Jose said...

I agree with you Nate but Tolkin said the film had won because it was the only movie in the field that approximated to something that would be done in Hollywood, despite the political undertones.
He said that it was clever of Campanella to filter his political history and comments through an old fashioned murder mystery with romantic strokes because those elements hit AMPAS members directly.
Being so involved with the whole romance and CSI-ness of the Argentine film they probably perceived the coldness of Haneke and Audiard as something mean.
Tolkin attributed the win to Hollywood's fascination with genre over reality.

Christine said...

Sigh, none of these films coming near a theater near me. I guess I will wait for Netflix.