October 15, 2007

TIFF 07 : 4

In Antarctica, Herzog searches for what drives people to this place so far outside of society. Escape, peace, adventure, ego, madness, the secrets of the universe and the humble celebration of humanity are what he finds--a frozen sturgeon, a popcorn necklace and paper flowers. The universe begins to see itself as we begin to see it...right? It's a little loosely structured for my taste, but maybe I'd need to watch it again. Very entertaining, and definitely eye opening, Herzog deftly captures the quirky inhabitants of this strange little community of searchers. Encounters at the End of the World

Useless is a film that I thought was going to be about the contrast between Chinese Haute Couture and industrialized labour; maybe a meditation on what fashion is, what it really means, how it functions in society, and its worth. It wasn't really. Or maybe it was, but was too long and too cold and too objective to hold my interest, and to make me want to form connections. It was very boring--even for me. Useless

An historic sequel. Attractive, but very fragmented and a little overwrought. Spain is way overly caricatured--I mean, really really villified. Sillified. Mary the Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth herself were awesome though; In the end, I think the script was maybe just kind of funny. Elizabeth's big turning point revelation is just silly, and her rallying speech is kind of flat. The idea here was to play Warrior Queen against some interior, hidden Winsome Woman. The whole thing is just too muddled in plot, and too melodramatic. Attractive though. Elizabeth: The Golden Age

From the filmmaker of Shake Hands with the Devil comes an engrossing documentary about Ariel Dorfman, Allende party member, and witness to the atrocities of Pinochet's dictatorship. When all members of the party were executed, Dorfman was kept alive so he could tell the world their story; this is it. Party history lesson, and part rumination on home, death, the meaning of exile, and our need to accept and reconcile differences. Really incredible documentary footage of rallies in Chile. It could have been more tightly and pointedly structured, but a terrifying and important film nonetheless. A Promise to the Dead: the exile of Ariel Dorfman