Housekeeping, VIFF, Wild Things, Amazing Grace, & Counting Down to a Hurricane
Blogging has been light, and will likely continue in such a manner for the next few weeks as my classmates and I keep up with the preproduction freight train, leading into our shoot in less than two weeks time. I’ve got lots to write on, but little time to write. For now, some quick things:
1. I managed to catch three films at this year’s VIFF. KAMUI was scattershot, wildly silly, and frequently entertaining despite plot holes you could drive a shark-hunting pirate ship through (and yes, that vessel does factor into the proceedings). If anything, it’s refreshing to see a swordplay-heavy action film that doesn’t cut every 1.2 seconds. Or even every 2.5 seconds.
THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD milks everything you would expect, and then some, out of a tightly focused one-day story arc. In hindsight, I’m not sure if it was as funny as the audience seemed to think at the time, and perhaps found a crowd willing to meet it part way. Either way, it’s a fine little film.
My last film of the festival was a late choice made out of curiosity, not buzz (not that the film necessarily had that), and now having let it settle for a couple weeks, I remain as convinced as ever that it’s the best thing I’ve seen in a theatre this year. Remember this title: LETTERS TO FATHER JACOB. I’m not finished with this one. Keep an eye out for it. The trailer’s at the bottom of this post.
2. I saw WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE exactly 24 hours after I saw LETTERS TO FATHER JACOB, and I can’t ever remember experiencing a one-two cinema punch quite like that. Both films are deeply emotionally resonant, and effected similarly strong reactions from my jaded critical self. Being immersed in film academia, you spend so much time looking at how things are put together (which, I believe, only enhances appreciation) than sitting back and letting it wash over you as a total experience. JACOB and WILD THINGS are gifts in that regard. The dissection may, and should, come later, but when they’re up there, unfolding before tired eyes and tired minds, the overall sweep of their stories and characters proves to be cleansing. I’m not sure I realize yet how much I needed those two films, at that point in my life.
3. Also worth mentioning is the concert U2 just played here in Vancouver. It was my first U2 show, having only become a fan over the last couple of years. I was not disappointed. All I will say is that their one-two-three combination of “One,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Where The Streets Have No Name,” may have been the greatest live-music moment I have ever experienced . Especially the segue from “Grace” into “Streets”. The feeling running through that changeover, from reflecting on the gift of grace to the hope of heaven, and the mounting joy as that famous riff builds and builds…truly electrifying. And a masterful use of their most beloved songs to point the audience’s eyes upwards, towards the Magnificent One.
And through it all, these four guys on stage seemed immune to the crowd’s adoration. I’d read accounts of concerts, how U2 concerts almost become worship services at times, but I really was surprised at how humble they come off on stage.
4. Last but not least, Switchfoot, my favourite band, is releasing a new album on November 10. It’s called Hello Hurricane. I cannot wait. And to sweeten the anticipation, the band is previewing every one of the new songs on their website for the next two weeks. From what I’ve heard so far, this may be their best work since The Beautiful Letdown, and what a summit that album was. Eleven days to go.
Ok, that’s all for now. Watch FATHER JACOB, and answer a quick unrelated question: When you think “Edward Zwick,” what springs to mind?