Oh, yesterday was a GREAT film day! These are the days you want to run off with a film production company or get your friends together and put on a festival. That is, until you realize that’s really hard and extremely expensive and there isn’t enough alcohol in the world to fuel that kind of stress. Better just take tomorrow off work and check out films all day through Sunday night! 3 excellent films were viewed yesterday and I’m still pumped from them and the conversations that followed! Let’s hop to it!
I have had, for some time now, a completely unintentional love affair with Nordic films. Perhaps it’s the last remaining vestiges of ancient Viking blood in my veins or the dichotomy of such a “cold country” with such a warm spirited people, but whatever the reason, I find the films from the region overall to have an especially endearing aesthetic. Time after time I have found the subject matter of their films and specifically the way they make observations and portray their own culture, just magnificently appealing. Their direct, very blunt, smart but simple, and a bit out of left field humor is something that just tickles me to no end. Kiss Me You Fucking Moron from Norway has further strengthened my bond with the cinematic traditions of Scandinavia. It is a complete triumph. To be honest, I’ve never really understood that term when it came to films. It always seemed to ridiculously overstated. Until now. This coming of age film, which when you examine it closely, really doesn’t stray all that far from any adolescent romantic comedy formula, is just so absolutely, inexplicable lovable. The scenery is breathtaking, the acting fantastic, the story interesting, the pacing spot on, and the emotions, which run the gamut, are delightfully genuine, universal and relatable. There were so many laughs, so much empathy layered in this film and as an added bonus for me, a huge dose of “high school theater” which made for a particularly strong impact given my own theatrical background. I’m honestly at a loss for words at how fun this film was and still so detailed and artful. It surpassed every one of my already high expectations. A real joy of a film and a supreme birthday present to me, I’m thrilled to bestow a rare 5 out of 5 jewels in the review tiara for an absolutely charming, beautifully produced, tender and hilarious romantic comedy. Kiss Me You Fucking Moron has no more scheduled screenings but I’m REALLY hoping it makes it to Encore Day. It’s worth seeing ANY way you can, ANY TIME.
A Practical Guide to a Spectacular Suicide wasn’t on my radar originally. This Scottish film somehow escaped my initial pass through the catalog (an excruciating exercise always reminiscent of Sophie’s Choice). Before each film at Cinequest the audience is encouraged to shout out films people have enjoyed (a tradition I LOVE and has led to the discovery of several enjoyable films). After the third time hearing this title yelled out, I decided to take a LOOOONNNNGGG lunch to see it yesterday. SO very glad I did and I only wish I could have seen it earlier and shouted it out too. I’d shout, shout, shout it, I would. Literally, from the opening credit, the Enlightened Monster Productions logo, I was enchanted by this film. It captured me with its sweetness in that first heartbeat and lasted to the final frame. While the first 5 minutes terrified me a bit with such thick accents and not a subtitle to be found, my fear was shortly assuaged once my ears warmed up to embrace that lovely brogue. This is a wickedly quirky film from Scotland that truly succeeds in making suicide attempts a comedy. The humor is dark by topic, but so utterly light in execution (okay, poor word choice?) that there is no “shame” in laughing like there is with some dark comedies. With clever animation and “acting out” sequences, the format is remarkably fresh and effective in telling the stories. Sarcastic and almost under breath at times the humor is of the smiling and constant chuckle variety and there were quite a few “awwww” moments from the audience too, indicating complete infatuation and sympathy with the entire ensemble. I LOVE these people and yes they succeed wonderfully in being people and not characters! This is a super, CUTE film and I’d give this movie a giant hug if I could. An illuminating 4 ½ jewels out of 5 in the review tiara for this adorable and supremely fetching film. A Practical Guide to a Spectacular Suicide also has no more scheduled screenings but if it makes it to Encore Day and you can fit it in, it’s really worth seeing.
BONUS: Irrelevant to most people’s enjoyment of or the “measurable merit” of a film, both these films had a higher than normal on screen redhead/ginger quotient…and in my book, this is ALWAYS a good thing.