Wednesday, September 9, 2009

London Film Festival 2007

Having seen some real bummers in the past, the choice from the considerable nnumber of available films has tended to
be limited to directors and actors that one knows and likes coupled with tolerable timings, i.e. no late nights and no
Saturdays or Sundays. This year had fewer possibilities and, for the most part, those seen were worth the effort.
Takeshi Kaetano plays a frustrated film maker and runs through the various genres in which he has previously had success.
Unfortunately, I found the film very self-indulgent and tired though some of the clips from his past successes were welcome.
The new David Lynch with Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and Armin Muhler-Stahl (with apologies for what is probably a
mis-spelling). Violent and a little slow to get going with a reliance on coincidence (but that is what makes the world go round in the cinema) - Watts playing a nurse who seese a young Russian girl die, is herself of Russian origin - but despite
this, a first-rate film. I don't know that Vincent Cassel was well cast and his was the least satisfactory performance of the
leading quartet.
Ang Lee's porno movie failed to convince. While the basic story of young Chinese patriots secretly trying to sabotage
collaboration with the japanese in the late 30s was sound, the development with a sweet young amateur actress seducing
(or letting herself be seduced by) a wealthy, unemontional businessman did not ring true. Explicit sex has its place but
the violence and contortions displayed here were almost laughable and gave no feeling that passion was involved.
Move to France over a century earlier for a tale of infatuation and loss. Very well photographed and believable (Balzac
does not mess about), this, too, had writhing sex though without the need to show insertion. The difference lies in the
enthusiasm Asia Argento threw into her rols and the sexual activities in particular which left one convinced of the passion
between her and her lover. Excellent performances in the minor raoles, especially from the great Michael Lonsdale.
A black and white oddity which was a delight. I don't know why I picked this but it was an enjoyable afternoon's
The title refers to hair extensions and this Japanses horror movie was very effectively done. The story made sense and
the special effects were both logical and scarily effective without being too extreme. Seeing hair grow rapidly out of
someone's eyes and mouth is as effectively bloodchilling as blood-spattered limb loss.
A belated sequel to 'Henry Fool' with the same main characters. A fine central performance from the eponymous heroine,
Parker Posey, in what was a rather different Hal Hartley film. Allowing for some quirks, this would not be out of place
alongside the Bourne trilogy or a cgi-less Bond movie. A delight to the eye and ear with Hartley's wry dialogue again
in evidence.
Again Ms Anonymous more or less agrees, but perhaps doing these reviews in retrospect lends the movies rather more
enchantment than my immediate knee-jerk reactions. I'm thinking about 'Fay Grim' in particular here and how you can
link this disappointment in your mind with any sort of blockbuster mainstream movie is beyond my ken.

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