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KIFF: Day Three in Review

October 3, 2011
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Almost halfway done and by the end of the night I realized that there might actually be a limit to how many movies I can watch. By the end of the week I might have to take up an actual hobby. That’s not to say the day was anything to complain about. It was filled with (mostly) light-hearted stories of redemption and love and after, not one, but three films about the corruption of children yesterday, a good ole rom-com sounded pretty nice.  Oh! and there were a few silent films thrown in, just for good measure.

AND…

The Jury Award Winners were announced on Day Three of KIFF. Natural Selection won for Best Narrative and Another Planet took the prize for Best Documentary. This means they will both get a second showing at the festival!Natural Selection will be shown on Wednesday, October 5 at 5:15 pm and Another Planet will be Thursday, October 6 at 5:25 pm. Both are definitely worth checking out!.

Now, onto the movies:

Vincent Wants to Sea! Directed by Ralf Huettner.

An obsessive compulsive, an anorexic and a guy with Tourette’s steal a car so they can go visit the sea. Even as I type it, I can feel the infeasibility in the plot but , Vincent Wants to Sea! is a surprisingly endearing little film. Following the conventions of a standard road trip flick, Vincent, Marie and Alexander go on a pilgrimage through Germany as they begin to overcome their obstacles one mile at a time. The film might be too saccharin for some, but the performances are as lovely as the locale and sometimes a bit of fairytale light-heartedness is exactly what one needs.

A Perfect Soldier. Directed by John Severson.

Aki Ra was a child soldier for roughly twenty years. Now, he removes landmines, possibly some that he even laid himself to improve the safety and stability of Cambodia. With roughly six million landmines still littering the country, his job is certainly not done, but in over ten years he has cleared more than 50,000 mines. These were cleared with little more than a stick, a knife and his bare heads.  He has never been wounded and on top of the good deed of saving lives, he houses an orphanage to help children get healthy and work towards a better education. A national hero, he is an example of what one man truly can do with a bit of goodness and a lot of courage. A Perfect Soldier is one of the best docs I’ve seen thus far.

The Wedding Party. Directed by Amanda Jane.

An ensemble piece centering around Steve Thompson (Josh Lawson) and his family as they prepare for his impromptu wedding with Anna Petrov, a stunning Russian woman. Steve and Anna, however, have a secret: they are both in love with others. Theirs is solely a marriage of convenience: she needs citizenship and he needs some fast cash. This sets the scene for an abundance of situational comedy, but The Wedding Party also asks some interesting questions about what love is and if there are any people functional enough to maintain it.

Like Crazy. Directed by Drake Doremus.

Jacob loves Anna and Anna loves Jacob, but after a summer of love, in which Anna allows her Visa to expire, they are dividend by continents. The film addresses not the splendor of falling in love, but the challenges of staying in it. With an interesting visual style, the film is innovative, but the countless number of montages causing the film to feel more like a representation of love than the actuality of it. Regardless, it is a pleasure to watch from start to finish and there isn’t weak moment in either performances from Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones. Any romance lovers will definitely want to add this to their list of things to do this fall season.

Wild & Weird w/ the Alloy Orchestra.

In olden times, when movies cost about a quarter but still had no color or sound, musicians would fill the theater with melodies to guide the audiences aurally through the story flickering by on the screen. Scores usually accompany silent films today, but I always imagined that the vibrancy of live music would have just a little more power than a track on a DVD. The Alloy Orchestra proves this, but in a more modern way than the traditional honky-tonk piano. An array of percussions, traditional orchestral instruments and even a few electronics are used by the three piece ensemble. They have created new scores for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera as well as many others. Last night was an eclectic array of silent shorts ranging from a fly performing acrobatics to a man comedically attempting to dislodge a clarinet from his head. Each short was beautifully accented by the group, while never overshadowing the actual films. It was a delight to go to the movies in a similar way to the orginal audiences. The Alloy Orchestra gets my highest recommendation of something any cinephile should check out.

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