Let me begin by saying this is my one hundredth blog post. That's #100, yippee! There should be some kind of celebration; it will be a long time before I reach the next big milestone. I started my blog with the 2008 True/False Film Festival, so it's appropriate to be discussing the 2010 Festival at #100.
The Festival was great this year. After sitting through 13 films, I can report one more poultry slaughter (a turkey, in Those Who Remain) and a sheep slaughter (On the Other Side of Life). Combine that with the 16 bear paws (four bears worth) found in a Chinese dumpster (Disorder), and the two chicken slaughters I reported earlier, and the animals didn’t fare too well in this year’s documentary film selections.
But it was a great weekend. I packed in as much as I could, yet there is still a long list of films that my friends raved about that I didn’t get a chance to see. At a debriefing with friends on Sunday night, about 20 people talked about their two top films from the festival, and there was a wide variety of opinion. Here are the ones I missed but want to see:
The Red Chapel (dir. Mads Brügger, 87 min.), about two Korean-Danish comedians visiting North Korea, got rave reviews from everyone who saw it.
Holy Wars (dir. Stephen Marshall, 81 min.) followed a Muslim extremist and a Christian extremist in their proselytizing efforts; the filmmaker set up a debate between them, and the outcome was remarkable.
GasLand (dir. Josh Fox, 86 min.) – everyone who saw this film said it was unbelievable and disturbing; one of my students said she cried through half of it. It’s about natural gas, Halliburton, and groundwater pollution.
Cowboys in India (dir. Simon Chambers, 78 min.), the plot of which I still haven’t figured out, sounds great and got lots of thumbs up.
The Mirror (dir. David Christensen, 85 min.) is set in the Italian Alps and explores the attempts by a small-town mayor to build a giant mirror to bring sunlight to his village. Some monkish Germans are also involved.
My husband liked Circo (dir. Aaron Schock, 78 min.) a lot, which was one of two Mexican circus films, the other being The Tightrope (dir. Núria Ibáñez, 80 min.) (which neither of us saw).
Waste Land (dir. Lucy Walker, 98 min.) is about artist Vik Muniz, whose art uses trash from the Rio de Janeiro landfill. People loved it.
Clearly, the True/False Film Festival needs to be about two days longer if a person's going to get to see everything they're interested in seeing.