Monday, June 2, 2008

Picks for Week 2 of SIFF 2008

Captain Ahab (at SIFF)

Ever read Moby Dick? Ever wonder why Ahab was so obsessed with a particular white whale? This 2007 film from France follows Ahab's life growing up in the woodlands of northeastern America. We see him as an orphan, moving from place to place. There's singing about drunken sailors as well as some short news reel footage of whaling from that period. Queequeg and Starbuck appear only towards the end of the film, but there's no sign of Apollo or Admiral Adama.


Let The Right One In (at SIFF)

There are both advantages and disadvantages to having a 12 year old girlfriend who's a vampire. But for the right boy, she might be the right girl. This is the most touching vampire movie I've ever seen, probably because it's really not about vampirism. It's about finding someone you can trust and who accepts you for who you are, and about the loneliness associated with living with a disability. Minus the horror, blood, guts and gore, this would be a good movie to take a 12 year old to see (but don't, adults only). It's Swedish with Swedish subtitles.

Ben X (at IMDB)

The director of this movie told us that Belgium doesn't have the money required to make big budget films. However, he was preaching to the choir. Most of us who attend film festivals already know that a mountain of cash isn't what makes a film great. This story is about an autistic, teenage boy who is bullied to an extreme by his classmates. Its intensity and sense of looming disaster makes it hard to watch. The director's continual use of images from the boy's online role playing game is effective and plays a central role in the story's telling. The ending is not what I expected, but sometimes it takes a tragedy to get peoples' attention. This is definitely something worth seeing.

Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame (at SIFF)

This was part of the new directors showcase at the festival this year. The film is acted almost entirely by young children, and directed by someone that's barely an adult herself. Most people don't understand the impacts of war, or how it touches the roots of a society. This film is a good educator. Also, it's a pleasure to watch.

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