The World Film Festival is in town, and as usual I have a nice list of films I plan to see. I kicked off this year's festival by seeing the Croatian film Sto Je Iva Snimila
Sto Je Iva Snimila
Iva is given a small, expensive video camera for her 16h birthday by her businessman stepfather Bozo. A loving father and a caring husband to Iva's mother Zeljka, Bozo always has his eye open for business and he decides to use Iva's birthday party as an opportunity to negotiate with a possible German business partner. Delighted with her new toy, Iva immediately begins filming the evening's events -- Bozo dressing up, Zeljka drinking too much, fighting between the two, friction between the couple and their invited guests, etc. Iva records everything, making her parents nervous. She had always been witness to their foolishness and disagreements, but now she is getting it all down on tape...
The film wasn't bad, but it wasn't remarkable either. Sto Je Iva Snimila had its moments, but ultimately lacked a defining moment/concept that would stick with me. The concept of capturing action through a single camera held by a character works, but given the proliferation of reality television and voyeurism, the concept lacks the originality factor. That is not to say the concept doesn't work, just that my appreciation for it is dulled. Sto Je Iva Snimila is worth a see if you don't have anything better on your Filmfest card.
As for the other films on my card right now, I have a trio of Japanese films. 窯焚 (which is actually directed by a Canadian), 少年と星と自転車, and 海猫. I'm particularly optimistic about the first two.
Ken Antoine, 23, has lost his father and his desire to live. One winter morning, he jumps off a bridge into the icy waters of the St. Lawrence River. Miraculously, he survives. His mother feels that his father's brother in Japan is the only person who can help him find what he has lost. Uncle Takuma is an internationally famous potter. Eccentric and unpredictable, he lives by his own unconventional moral code. He is the opposite of Ken's late father. Takuma's shock treatment of sake, mystery, sexual tension and art succeeds in stirring his nephew's curiosity. Will those sparks be enough to rekindle Ken's inner flame and allow it to burn as hotly as the fire of Takuma's wood-fired kiln?
少年と星と自転車 (SHONEN TO HOSHI TO JITENSHA)
"Satoru, you are the midday star. Always shining but no one can see you." Fourteen-year-old Satoru's heart is broken when his older brother dies. Mitsuru was an elite cyclist who was training to make the Japanese Olympic cycling team and he was killed in a road accident. Mitsuru was good at everything he tried and there were high expectations of him from his parents, who grieved deeply at his death. Satoru is hurt by Mitsuru's death and by his parents' grief. When Otomatsu, a street performer, incites him to take a bike trip to see what his brother might have seen before he died, Satoru accepts. He and Otomatsu set off on an expedition that will bring out the star that is shining within him. His goal is not to win the Olympics in Athens but the contest in his own heart.
In love with young fisherman Kunikazu, Kaoru decides to follow him to his hometown on the shore of the northern sea. Only twenty, Kaoru is charmed by the sturdy, sun-tanned Kunikazu and eagerly accepts the role of a fisherman's wife. She sets out to sea with her husband to gather kelp, and she bears him a daughter. "Leave everything up to me," Kunikazu urged and Kaoru takes him at his word. Until Kunikazu's younger brother, Hirotsugu, enters the picture to promise her delights she had never imagined...
I'm still looking to go to two more films. Suggestions are welcome...