Sunday, March 01, 2009

True/False Film Festival: Day 3

True/False finally came to a close today. R and I squeezed in three more films before taking it easy this evening. The children of the corn took in another four flicks and I grilled them over pizza and beer.

The day began with us heading over to Stephens College for The Mosque of Morgantown. If you recall, R had a particular interest in the film since it took place in West Virginia, her home state (unless you count her birthplace of Detroit as her home). Anyway, the film was really well done by the first-time filmmaker Brittany Huckabee. The film focused on journalist Asra Nomani's fight to liberate her mosque. At times, Nomani comes off as overly dramatic, pushy, and intolerant...Then I wondered if I just felt that way because she was a woman. Either way, she was right to fight for equity in her mosque, but the argument is anything but black and white.

Thanks to folks leaving town this morning, we were near the front of the Q for Love on Delivery. Thai women travel to Denmark to find a better life for themselves and their families back home through marriages to Danish men. Although I suspected a highly politicized drama about human trafficking, it was a pleasant surprise to see that it was really a story about improving one's position in life and learning to love both a new partner as well as a new home.

Before I move on, I should mention the openers for Love on Delivery. "Scared" was an audio short from the Third Coast International Audio Festival that described the fears of parenthood in a way that made all the new parents in the audience weepy. Tongzhi Love was a doc short that followed the closeted lives of young gay men in China. This was maybe one of the three best things I saw the entire festival.

Our festival ended with Burma VJ, the recipient of the True Life Fund. The military junta in Burma brutally imprisoned and murdered all who protested their fascist regime, including rather "dangerous" Buddhist monks. A group of underground journalists have recorded their governments brutality and have smuggled the footage via the Internet to the international media. The film was gripping and intense. The only problem, as with several films we watched this festival, it lacked any sort of context. It would really help to know some of the background of Burma without having to visit Wikipedia.

After returning home early to eat some Indian (and drink yet another Hopslam), the children of the corn arrived with pizza and a report on the weekend's films. Here's a rundown of their list...

  • We Live in Public: So many stories have been done before, but this one was new. The dude who created the Internet (along with Al Gore) filmed volunteers in a basement of a hotel with Japanese-like pods and interrogation rooms. A mind fuck. Whoa.
  • Secret Screening Blue: They liked the prison rodeo. Actual title:[Title: Redacted]. "I like an Oklahoma prison documentary every now and then."
  • Necrobusiness: Interesting story, needed to be edited. It's very typical of a Eastern European doc where you're not exactly sure who they're talking an Eastern European spy movie.
  • Waltz with Bashir: The one thing that made it was that it switches format from animated to not. If you're scared of those Charles Schwab commercials, don't see this. It makes Mrs. Children of the Corn nervous.
  • Pressure Cooker: We've seen this story before: a school story with a competition, but still good.
  • Crude: They spent the last 20 minutes just waiting for it to end.
  • At the Edge of the World: Beautiful...and bleeding whales. The film was about a guy taking a bunch of hippies who have never been out to sea out to sea. Someone's gonna get hurt.
  • Rise Up: Apparently the filmmaker walked around Jamaica on his own, filming musicians. It was the best documentary about the Jamaican music business at 11:30 pm.
  • Food, Inc.: They loved the clever opening credits...and the rest of the film.
  • War Against the Week: "Our war against sleep." A step above a film strip. "We found our dud."
  • Big River Man: Strangely narrated by the subject's son and not the filmmaker. A guy swims the Amazon. Who would do that after watching Crude.
  • The Yes Men Fix the World: Loved it! Maybe the favorite film, perfect festival ending. Possibly the only closing film people have loved more was American Shopper.
A final beer note: Mr. Children of the Corn and I shared an O'Fallon Barrel-Aged Smoked Porter. It's really smooth and actually tastes like a cold whiskey. It's a good beer, but I don't think it's $16 good. Oh well.

Eventually, I will get around to making my suggestions for True/False. Overall, I have little to complain about, but I feel a few things could be better. Still, I'm glad True/False is here and can't wait until next year's festival.

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