As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Archive for the ‘IFFR’ Category


Posted by Hedwig on February 5, 2008

I originally titled this post “Three From Rotterdam”. While writing, I realized I’d filled a whole poss talking about just the first movie. So I’ll keep the other two (Men’s Group and End of the Line) for another day. Why was it those three? Simple: people ended up on my site googling these three movies. For their trouble, they got only one line about each, which doesn’t seem fair. Anyway, for now, I’ll just talk about

Wadley (Matias Meyer)


Is it bad to like a director more than the movie he made? Or, to be more precise, to respect the intention more than the final product? Wadley, to me, was a hightly frustrating film, even if it lasts only 60 minutes. Why? Well, because for once, the three sentence description in the programma booklet was not just accurate, but complete. A guy goes into the desert. He walks around. He finds peyote, eats it. He wanders about some more. Read the rest of this entry »


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The IFFR: quick round-up (final update 2/2)

Posted by Hedwig on January 25, 2008


Done. Over. Finished. 34 films in 10 days. I’ll post an overview tomorrow, and hopefully (if my editor allows it) some more in depth pieces in the near future. Further info on the films can be found here.

The Great, at last: Naissance Des Pieuvres/Water Lilies (Céline Sciamma, 2007)

The Surprisingly, and Quite Stunningly, Good: Margot At The Wedding (Noah Baumbach, 2007)

The Fun & Touching: The Band’s Visit (Eran Kolirin, 2007)

The Quiet & Lovely: La Maison Jaune (Amor Hakkar, 2007)

The Should Be a Revered Classic: Der Verlorene (Peter Lorre, 1951)

The Reason I Love Older Movies: Phase IV (Saul Bass, 1974), The Honeymoon Killers (Leonard Kastle, 1970)

The Simply Fun: Estomago (Marcos Jorge, 2007), Un Baiser, S’il Vous Plait (Emmanuel Mouret, 2007)

The Not Joining the Crowd, but not Joining the Dissenters either (aka the Fun, but Not Amazing): Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)

The Fun & Well-Acted, but Somewhat Superficial: Tiramisu (Paula van der Oest, 2008)

The Entertaining Despite Flaws: True Stories (David Byrne, 1986), 3 Days to Forever (Riri Riza, 2007), End of The Line (Gustavo Steinberg, 2007), The King of Ping Pong (Jens Jonsson, 2007)

The Absolutely Nuts, but Impressive and Fun: the 1 take Still Orangutans (Gustavo Spolidoro, 2007)

The Truly Clumsy, but Not Entirely Without Charm: Pure Coolness (Ernest Abdyjaparov, 2007)

The Worth it For the Music and Atmosphere, if not the story: Burned Hearts (Ahmed El Maanouni, 2007)

The Competent & Well-Made, yet not exceptional: Cordero De Dios (Lucía Cedrón, 2008)

The Understandably Disliked, but Quite Enjoyable to Me: Les Amours D’Astrée et de Céladon (Eric Rohmer, 2007)

The Disappointing, but Still Pretty Good: Paranoid Park (Gus van Sant, 2007)

The Odd, but Oddly Charming: Die Stille Vor Bach (Pere Portabella, 2007)

The Demanding, not Necessarily Rewarding but B&W Beautiful: The Man From London (Béla Tarr, 2007)

The Not as Great as Rumored but B&W Beautiful: Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Perronaud, 2007)

The Fascinating Experiment in B&W Animation: Fear(s) of the Dark (various directors, 2007)

The Entertaining but not Quite Satisfying; Uno de los Dos no Puedo Estar Equivocado (Pablo Llorca, 2007)

The Interesting Experience: Wadley (Matias Meyer, 2008)

The Operatically Strange, Somewhat Intersting: The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez (Peter Sellars, 1991)

The Interesting Concept that unfortunately peters out: Le Tueur (Cédric Anger, 2007)

The Interesting Concept that doesn’t really add up to anything besides crying men: Men’s Group (Michael Joy, 2008)

The Unfortunately Quite Dull (and Lacking in Film Clips): Un Lugar en el Cine (Alberto Morais, 2007)

The “I wish I liked this more than I did”: Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1971)

The Not-For-Me: Hafez (Abolfazl Jalili, 2007)

The Simply Boring: Marrakesh Inshallah (Steffen Fisker Pierce & Christian Pierce, 2006)

The Highlight of Saturday:


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Posted by Hedwig on January 25, 2008

The festival has begun. So far, I’ve seen 4 movies, slept barely 6 hours, and I’m preparing myself for today’s program. Tomorrow’s my most anticipated day already, with Juno, The Man From London, and Persepolis, but today I already get to see Paranoid Park. For those of you who can read Dutch, you can keep up with my adventures (and those of fellow iffr-visitors Kaj and Thijs) here. For the others, I’m afraid I can’t do more than post a snippet every once in a while, a stray observation, a tally. Right now, the only one that occurs to me is that is was really, really cold last night, and that I need to buy some deodorant because I forgot to pack it.

The tally so far? I disliked one film, liked two despite their obvious flaws, and liked one reasonably well. I’m hoping the truly good movies are just around the corner.

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IFFR Preview #2: Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge

Posted by Hedwig on January 15, 2008

I should have loved this film. Let me count the ways:

  • it takes place in Paris, and until the end doesn’t resort to the corny tourist shots of famous sights
  • it stars Juliette Binoche
  • it’s a quiet slice-of-life thing with beautiful piano music in the background
  • it has some gorgeous shots of a balloon wandering over Paris
  • etc.

So why didn’t I, and did I even start twitching in my seat, anxious for the end? Part of it might be that I have a cold and just in general didn’t feel too good. But mostly, I think I blame it on the length (almost two hours), and on the lack of an arc. It just goes and goes until it stops, without any modulations. And the balloon, which I found one of the most, if not the most, interesting character, is barely in the film. After a wonderful initial sequence, it leaves for about an hour, and it’s sorely missed.

I haven’t seen the short this is based on. But if it’s anything like the shots featuring the balloon in this film, well, then I think that I could love. This, alas, I cannot.

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IFFR Preview #1

Posted by Hedwig on January 13, 2008

Note: this started out as just me taking notes, making sure I had something to refer to once I needed to really write about these films. Then I figured, I might as well post what I wrote here. Regular updates and all. Some of these films (Du Levande & Mio Fratello è figlio unico) are even going to get small releases in the Netherlands.

Wonderful Town (Aditya Assarat, 2008, Thailand, Tiger Awards Competition) is about the tsunami, I suppose, in some vague way, like pretty much everything in this movie is vague, from the attraction between the two main characters to the motive behind the act of violence that suddenly, incomprehensibly, ends it. There’s beautiful images here, sure, but I can barely remember anything specific. Unless you really, really enjoy Asian flicks in which nothing much happens, I’d skip this one.

Du Levande/You the Living (Roy Andersson, 2007, Sweden) on the other hand, I can heartily recommend, even if I couldn’t possibly give a summary. It consists of fifty or so vignettes, sometimes loosely connected to each other, more often not. It’s about “the Living” in the greatest sense of the world: the happy, the sad, the kind, the mean, the dreamers and the desperate ones. It’s poignant, it’s funny, and even if I don’t remember half the scenes, I wasn’t bored for a second. The music is great, and the ending is perfect. It’s the perfect proof that a movie can be artsy and experimental without being inaccessible.

It’s too bad The Best of Times (Svetlana Proskurina, 2008, Russia) wants to be so deep. Or maybe it’s not deep enough, I’m not sure. Theme’s battle with each other to get noticed, with many images of industrialization, many shots and references to water, an obsession with aging, the different people we are during our life, and so on. Unfortunately, all the posturing takes away from the poorly motivated and illustrated story about two girls in love with the same guy. It managed to get under my skin, even giving me half a panic attack about growing old and being alone, but at the same time I didn’t care about what happened to the characters. Proskurina (a “filmmaker in focus” this year) obviously knows the craft of directing and there are some memorable shots, but this is one of the most unpleasant films I’ve seen in a while.

Mio fratello è figlio unico/My Brother is an Only Child (Luchetti, 2007, Italy) is rather the opposite: it pulls you in with its characters, and even gives a bit of historical perspective and insight on the sly. Accio (which apparently is a nasty nickname) is our narrator, a very serious, intense boy. He goes to seminary first. Then, finding them not strict enough, he becomes a fascist. His brother, older, more charismatic, and much more fun-loving, is an active communist. They fall for the same girl, of course. It’s familiar territory for the writers, who also wrote La Meglio Gioventù (which I’m afraid I still haven’t caught up with). But after the stark, anguish-filled The Best of Times, I loved how light it treaded, and that it manage to make you feel for all the characters, despite some broad characterizations. It’s a movie where an older brother gives a picture of a movie star to his younger brother to corrupt him – and it works.

I also saw some shorts. Most of them I can’t recommend. One of them wasn’t just non-narrative, but it wasn’t even figurative: just head-ache (and probably epilepsy) inducing quickly moving flecks. For 19 friggin’ minutes. Good thing I needed a nap around that time. The one short that stayed with me was actually not short at all (41 minutes), and called Hemel Boven Holland (Rolf van Eijk, 2008, Holland). It’s about the murder of Theo van Gogh, focusing on his killer, Mohammed Bouyeri. A la Memento, it’s about 20 uncut scenes in reverse order, starting with shots in the dark and ending much earlier, back when Mohammed didn’t have a beard yet and was just a slightly strange young guy, hanging with his friends. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s interesting, and refreshingly lacking in sensationalism.

10 days to kick-off now. I’m really looking forward to it.

Previously written-about films that will also play at the festival

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