Tuesday, April 16, 2013

SFF Selections 2013: My Interview With Chloe Domont, The "Joyful Girl"

     Sunday sadly concluded the 15th annual Sarasota Film Festival; I watched 31 films, attended 32 screenings, and basked in the numerically immeasurable joy of cinema over the course of its 9 days. Perhaps it was just due to my personal schedule of films, but this year's festival screenings seemed to bring with them more film-makers than ever before. I had the privilege to hear from and even meet multiple directors, producers, writers, actors, and even composers after many film's screenings. Shamelessly promoting this blog, I handed each and every film-maker whose work I admired Rodney&Roger's business card in hopes of procuring interviews. Tonight, before posting my Day 3 Pt. 3 review of Still Mine, I'd like to share the first of said procured interviews (there are plenty more to come!) that I had the privilege to conduct through email with the short film Joyful Girl's writer/director, Chloe Domont:

Joyful Girl * * * ½

Thursday, April 11, 2013

SFF 2013 Day 3 Pt. 2: "Nothing Without You"

Nothing Without You * * *

     Director Xackery Irving's suspenseful Nothing Without You transfuses an amalgamation of genre archetypes together to make something new and fresh. Charged with the erotic tension of Fatal Attraction and Wicker Park, seen through the inconsistent perspective of an unstable narrator such as those in neo-noirs like Memento or Shutter Island, and with a pace like Following's that never quits, Nothing Without You is an independently made thriller that bests many of its Hollywood contemporaries.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SFF 2013 Day 3 Pt. 1: Period Pieces and the Problems of Pacing and Passion -"In The Fog" & "Therese Desqueyroux"

     On Sunday, Day 3 of the festival, I saw four different films. My busiest day to date, I was especially looking forward to its last two movies. Period pieces with good production values, they each seemed ripe contenders to be some of the best films of the festival. But my first two ended up surprising me -both turning out to be rather good (and after introducing myself, I slipped Nothing Without You's award-winning director my card... so hopefully my posting of an email interview will be forthcoming). Unfortunately my final two disappointed though. They communally suffered from problems of pacing and a lack of passion (I thankfully got my "period film" fix though with last night's superb Renoir) . The first of the final two (In The Fog) was so slow in fact that after it ended I turned to my friend Jillian and joked, "I can't keep up with these fast paced action thrillers!" to which she retorted, "It was like Mission Impossible in [Russia]!". This morning I'll post my reviews on Sunday's back two, but keep an eye out for the soon-to-come reviews of my earlier Day 3 films: Nothing Without You and Still Mine.

In The Fog * *

Monday, April 8, 2013

SFF 2013 Day 2 Pt.2: "Reality"

Reality * * * ½

     When Sidney Lumet's Network 
was released in 1976, it was an indictment on how television had abandoned any notion of integrity in favor of panning to the masses. Thirty-seven years later, Matteo Garrone's Reality depicts a man panning to television. In Garrone's film, man's wants don't determine what's on TV, TV determines what man wants. The opening aerial shot slowly descends to the tune of Reality's whimsical score, transforming into a surreal tracking shot of a horse-drawn carriage in modern-day Italy as it enters through palatial gates to arrive at an obscene wedding, where, in the same continuous and unbroken take, the audience is given a tour through a bizarrely beautiful cotton-candy-colored dream of sights, sounds, and characters. This long-shot where the camera seemingly wanders through the party to establish the film's characters is reminiscent of scenes from I Am Love, The Leopard, and even Coppola's The Godfather. In the camera's initial descent, it sees cars on the road before it sees the carriage -establishing a modern setting that is confused by the inclusion of horses and Victorian attire, causing the audience to wonder on the film's title: What defines "reality"? Time? Attire? Signs of the familiar?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

SFF 2013 Day 2 Pt. 1: How Not To Make A Documentary -"Which Way Is The Front Line From Here" & "More Than Honey"

     And so the waiting in line has begun! Today marked the first full day of programming at this year's Sarasota Film Festival and along with the movies, it brought with it one of my favorite aspects of the festival: the great conversations that spring up while waiting in line. This year I got proactive in the proselytization of this blog and actually had business cards printed (they seemed a better option than last year's habit of constantly scribbling down the URL on scrap paper for anyone I talked to). In fact if you are reading this now, then there is a great chance I handed you one of these in line.

Rodney&Roger's Official Business Card

Saturday, April 6, 2013

SFF 2013 Day 1: Opening Night, "Blackfish", In The Shadow of Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert 1942-2013
     Yesterday the sun rose over a day that would open the 2013 Sarasota Film Festival and the first in 70 years that wouldn't greet Roger Ebert. As many of you know, Roger passed Thursday afternoon. He announced two days prior (on the 46th anniversary of his hire date as the film-critic for the Chicago Sun-Times) that the fracture which had caused him problems since before Christmas was revealed to be a cancer. He left this world with the love of his life, Chaz, right by his side. Her beautiful words can be read HERE. Blog-readers, I was truly heartbroken by the news.