October 2013 Archives

BFI LIFF 2013

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I'm sad to miss the end of the festival as I get ready to catch a plane to Seville (missing 12 Years A Slave, The Selfish Giant & other films I'd still love to see...). I did watch a record 30 films this time, which has been great! (a record for me anyway)

My own personal highlights were: Starred Up by David Mackenzie, Gloria a Chilean film written by Gonzalo Maza and directed by Sebastían Lelio, Ida, Pawel Pawlikowski's new film, and Ilo Ilo by Anthony Chen. These were the four films that made the biggest impact on me one way or another, all really brilliantly written, directed and performed and all felt honest and immersive - and Ilo Ilo being a first feature was particularly impressive, and the director gave a fantastic Q&A afterwards as well.
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I also really enjoyed Enough Said, directed by Nicole Holofcener with Julia Louis Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in his final cinema appearance and We Are The Best by Lukas Moodyson, which must be based on his wife's teens as it is set in 1982 when the main girl Bobo is 12 (Coco would also have been about that age at the time).

The Do Gooders by Chloe Ruthven was the only doc I saw, which is a shame, but I really loved that too. A personal journey through Palestine, trying to retrace the filmmaker's grand parents steps and looking at the corruption of the foreign aid to the area which ultimately feeds the Israeli settlers instead of the Palestinian people it is destined for.

I was glad to have seen Blue Is The Warmest Colour which there has been much talk about. Ultimately the film is disappointing and very long. I found myself distracted thinking about the behaviour behind the camera instead of being immersed in the film itself. It felt like The relentless sex scenes just made me feel sorry for the actresses and cross with what felt like a very indulgent director. At the time I had no idea, but really? He made them shoot that one scene for 10 full days on the trot? I was also disengaged by the amount of long long ECUs particularly tearful and leaking nose mucus. I was disappointed at some of the director's choices & found the graphic novel far more interesting than the film. Weird to chose a story about all the struggles of a girl who discovers she is a lesbian and then take all the relevance of the homosexuality out of the story. But having said all that, the girl who plays Adèle is amazing, really amazing and many scenes were great, the school scenes felt really authentic.