Film Festival weekend 3

Turtle: The Incredible Journey

This would have been an excellent movie if it wasn’t for the narration. I guess it was to make the whole movie more child friendly but it made the movie not Jenni friendly. Too much anthropomorphizing of the sea turtle and the other animals. Too much calling the undersea currents ‘blue highways’, too much description of things we were looking at “the ocean: liquid and elemental”. Duh.

The photography was very beautiful a lot of the time, so it was good in that way. I’m not that I learned much, though. I would recommend watching this either with kids or with the soundtrack muted. The music was quite bombastic and intrusive, so even if you just muted the narration it would still be annoying. I do love sea turtles though.

Bill Cunningham: New York

An excellent documentary about Bill Cunningham who has spent the last 30 – 40 years photographing fashion on the streets of New York. He’s had a regular ‘On the Street’ columm with the New York Times for much of that time.

There were interviews with his friends, a lot of big name people who he has photographed (Anna Wintour for example) and lots of his photographs and footage of him photographing people. It was a fascinating companion piece to Teenage Papparazzo as Bill says several times that he couldn’t care less who is wearing the clothes. Celebrity means nothing to him, he only cares about the clothes. Also a nice companion to The September Issue from last year, for the insight into the fashion world.

The best thing about this film was Bill himself, he is utterly unassuming (he wears a street sweeper vest because it’s durable) and completely lovely. He really loves people and especially people who wear interesting clothes. He’s sweet and funny and you can see in his relationship with his editor that although he’s a bit eccentric, he is loved.

American: The Bill Hicks Story

I didn’t know much about Bill Hicks, I just knew that I had seen some of his stand up at some point and it was funny. This documentary was made by his friends and family, and was understandably a bit fawning, but at the same time they were very honest and open about his drug habits and alcoholism so it was still a good look at his life. Lots of footage of him being funny, lots of interviews and a lot of neat stuff where they animated old photos.

I liked it, but I didn’t love it the way I loved Bill Cunningham.

The Inventions of Dr Nakamats

Dr Nakamats is amazing. He’s invented heaps of things, including floppy discs, CDs, DVDs and a sexual aid called Love Jet. Well, that’s what he says and I believe him. This little hour long film is following him around for a couple of days and seeing how he lives.

I was a bit annoyed that the audience for this documentary seemed to have come along just to laugh at Dr Nakamats. I noticed a bit of this in Bill Cunningham, there was a section of the audience who laughed uproariously at some of the pictured fashions, some of the New York characters that Bill photographed. It’s kind of mean spirited. I mean, I only speak for myself of course, but I go to documentaries to learn something. And I know I’m an optimist, but I generally expect to learn more about someone and open up my mind a little more to the world at large. Going to docos to laugh at other people is completely contadictory to this goal. But this is the problem with seeing movies in a cinema, you do have to experience other peoples’ reactions to the film and they will frequently be different to your own.

Anyway, leaving that aside, I enjoyed this documentary.

And that’s it, that’s all the films I saw in this year’s International Festival.

3 thoughts on “Film Festival weekend 3

  1. Yay for good movies. I completely agree with you regarding people coming to laugh at movies. It really bugs me.

    Anyway what was your favourite movie?

  2. Favourite is tough. I think I enjoyed The Concert, Howl, Farewell, Runaways and Bill Cunningham the most. Although Birdemic and The Room were awesome in a v different way. Summer Wars was great too, although being anime less accessible for a lot of people.

    Teenage Paparazzo and Exit Through the Gift Shop were great too.

    Clearly, I can’t pick just one 🙂

  3. I loved The Inventions of Dr. Nakamats. He was really fascinating. It sounds like my session had far less mockers than yours did – that would have been annoying. Parts of the documentary were definitely funny, and he was quite eccentric, but the whole “let’s laugh at those crazy Japanese people” thing really irritates me.

    I had major problems with Lost In Translation for this reason; I thought it was kinda racist.

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