Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cambridge Film Festival 2011, Day 1

The Cambridge Film Festival has begun yesterday, and today I managed to view three films, one of which was for the festival magazine, Take One. (make sure to take one when it comes out)

I will try and keep a short festival diary on each of the 10 days, and hopefully will even manage to do it (at least on most days).

So here's today's:

12:30: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - as expected it was a very satisfying film, with a brilliant set of actors and a talented director (Let The Right One In's Thomas Alfredson). Let's just say I smell Oscars, aplenty.
(recenzia in romana urmeaza cat de curand)

15:00: Mann v. Ford - made for TV HBO documentary, interesting subject, unimpressive film. Review attached below.

17:45: Resistance - a war drama taking place in an alternative 1944 where D-Day has failed and the Germans have invaded Britain. In a small village in Wales all the men have suddenly disappeared to fight in the resistance, leaving the women under German occupation. Having nothing left home a German general wants to settle here, and tries to form a bond with a local woman, who cannot turn down the help he offers, but does not want to give up her husband. A subtle, slow drama with great performances, much in tone with Tinker, Tailor.... With Andrea Riseborough and Michael Sheen. UK release on November 25th, well worth seeing it.
(in romana, recenzie, cand am timp)

Mann v. Ford

It’s Erin Brockovich, the TV-documentary version, and that could be enough said.
This 2010 HBO documentary follows a community of Native Americans as they are trying to find justice after learning that the rainbow coloured sludge the Ford Motoring Company has dumped on their land during the 60’s is actually highly toxic, causing serious health problems to most inhabitants of the area.

The comparisons to the 2000 Julia Roberts drama don’t stop here, for on the horizon, as a crusader for these people ignored by the authorities, appears the rescuer, a spunky female lawyer looking like a middle-aged Barbie, complete with blonde hair, pink lipstick and matching figure. A southern accent, a go-to attitude and an optimistic determination make her an appealing character, as the film makers themselves must have noticed, considering the movie often seems to center more on her than the Indians themselves.

There is clearly enough and strong material for a moving movie and a deeper study about the carelessness of major companies about the effect some of their actions have on smaller communities, yet the filmmakers do not seem to be able to handle all this material effectively, the product never surpassing its ‘made for TV’ feel, and as for why it received a cinema release in the UK, remains, in this reviewers opinion, a mystery.
Throughout its course the movie retains a stubborn one-sidedness; victims are interviewed in a Church, the lawyers reinterpret anything said by the plaintiffs into an eloquent monologue, which in any court-room drama would stir calls of “Objections, they are leading the witness on”, and no opposing opinion is ever presented, these elements giving a pervading feeling of self-righteousness.

But as the toxic waste permeates into the ground beneath, the real emotional moments permeate the parade of victimization, and moments such as the one where one community member lists all those who have died or are suffering of cancer on a single street, nick-named “Cancer Row” (hint: nearly everybody) are truly gut-wrenching, and are the saving element of the film.

A David vs. Goliath story, if David would spend an hour and a half talking about how mean and ugly Goliath was and then skipped the fight to the aftermath.

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