Last night I met the Mexican director of a short film we’d seen earlier in the evening. A genuinely nice fellow who had made an ambitious film about a young man living in the slums of Mexico city whose life descends from coy flirtation into accidental armed robbery, a false rape accusation, a violent beating, murder in self-defence and finally a lynching -which sees him beeing burnt alive -and all this in the space of a day! Once again, not that funny. That’s one of the great things about the festival though, one that extends beyond the short film makers, it’s a real chance to interact with the people whose work you’re seeing on screen and discuss cinema with them. I’m hoping we’ll also later discuss him inviting me to the pary at the Mexican embassy -but I doubt it.
Talent Campus events are brilliant and bustling; particularly the Suddenly It Happened scriptwriting event with Sir David Hare. There is a genuine feeling from all who attend that they’re getting something tangible from attending these events. It’s like taking an entire degree course in a week. Less exciting is the Brussels In Berlin event about creating award winning films, someone next to me describes it as “terrible, incredibly boring” before ducking out early.
The 11 o’clock screening of Adam Ressurected gets me all excited, it’s my first feature and I love Jeff Goldblum. I’m desperate to like the film, but unfortunately I’m quickly deflated.
Although it’s full of good intentions the film just doesn’t get there. Paul Schrader has no real voice as a director, the script is bad (this guy wrote Taxi Driver!), the film’s logic is ropey as hell and Goldblum, although brilliant at times, is allowed to run off track at several points (the accent also feels like an obstacle). It’s as if Schrader was afraid to give him any direction.
I also have particular issues with the decision to put all the flashback scenes in black and white and shoot the present in colour and handheld. Firstly, it’s an obvious choice that lacks any imagination and secondly, I just don’t feel comfortable with painting the holocaust with that kind of emotional distance. It should be hard and raw and vivid, not dreamy and frankly beautiful at times.
Anyway, that seems no obstacle for sales and I read that the film has picked up distribution in multiple territories. Good luck to it.
Posted by Max Sobol
(image: The Reader – screenplay David Hare)
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