It’s time again to play Cinequest Catalog Roulette, where I sit down with my highlighter, my Cinequest mobile app, my pen, screeners and Cinequest Guide and mark up, follow and schedule the first round of films that jump out at me. These are totally random, admittedly arbitrary in some cases and my choices always end up changing. This round is primarily based on what pops out at me. It could be a fresh plot description, a favorite actor, a specific genre, eye-catching photo, or previous production team that I’ve enjoyed at past Cinequests…but these are the ones (in alphabetical order) that made the Cinequest 26 Princess Picks…
The Comedy Club: Stories that I have some personal attachment to are appealing for several reasons. You bring a certain experience, feeling and perspective to the table and it’s always nice to see if you get a drastically different insight or if your own thoughts/feels are confirmed. Also there’s something kinda fun about seeing a place you’ve been to on film. I spent many nights at Cobbs in SF and so naturally I’m drawn to this documentary. A little history mixed with a little nostalgia usually makes for a great 90 minutes. I also like to laugh, so this might take care of that “to do” as well.
Embers: I’m pretty much game for any film that focuses on the survivors of a terrifying global virus… mostly because I’ve never met a global virus that wasn’t terrifying, but also because that usually means some real badassery. Embers is a US/Polish production collaboration which intrigues, especially since it’s in English… and …Spanish… Now, add in the fact that it appears memory does not exist, that no one remembers what happened or will remember yesterday and you have a very fresh, compelling concept that, along with certain said bad assery, I’m inclined to think could be a good psychological trip to boot.
February: Horror films are kind of my weakness and a beautifully cinematic horror film is even better. Satisfying both the eerie and the aesthetic and balancing the gruesome with the gorgeous, I appreciate the attempt to not trade cinematic craft for what is typically kind of a cheap and formulaic form. February looks like it could be a fabulous combination of scare and skill. I’m in.
The Forest: I haven’t seen many films out of Thailand and The Forest caught my eye as a potentially beautiful film visually as well as bringing a bit of cultural myth and mystery to the screen. This one appears to be a bit horror, a bit drama and some fantasy and that for me serves up a real unknown… one of the best reasons to see a film, especially at Cinequest. Never knowing WHAT to expect can be an excellent surprise and a fulfilling part of the festival experience. Opportunity to learn about other cultures and via the camera lens travel to other countries or realms is an extremely appealing benefit of film and I have a feeling this one could be a winner.
Gelo: Fact: I could listen to Portuguese all day. Aside from that, despite denying it, there’s a romantic part of me…somewhere. It’s a bit buried, but it tends to unexpectedly surface at Cinequest. It might be the Stella in the lounge, but then again it might be intellectually compelling and sweet film. While love and immortality is not a new plot, it’s also one that is widely interpreted and this one appears to have a slight “meta” film angle to it along with some serious sciencing for nerd cred. Did I also mention it’s in Portuguese? It’s in Portuguese.
Here Come the Videofreex: This Documentary might win the prize for “Thank you for making a film to answer a question I ask myself all the time”… Before the age of mobile IRT video obsession, how did we capture life on film and why did we ever start? I’m super stoked to view the 60’s and 70’s footage of the early adopters of video and I’ll be fascinated to learn where/how some of this 24/7 capture came in to be. The irony that I’ll be watching a film about this…is not lost on me.
Lost in Munich: This was the only description that made me laugh out loud. Automatic points. Also bonus points for making me wonder if someone had nabbed the plot idea from my own brain… case and point: “At first it’s a film about a foul-mouthed, 90-year-old parrot’s press conference. And then…it isn’t. Well, it is. But it isn’t. That is…” Stop, stop stop. you had me at foul-mouthed and parrot. And as if there were any more points to give to a film I haven’t yet seen, it’s playing on March 12th, which is my birthday. Best. Gift. Ever. You are all invited to the screening, I’ll be the girl in the crown probably laughing harder than is deemed socially acceptable.
Love s All You Need: Hot, relevant topics with a twist also do it for me and Love is All You Need presents a simple enough concept/ideal and indeed twists it. What if heterosexual relationships were taboo? I seemingly love the point this film will likely try to make, but I’m also curious to see if it works, if it can tell a story and not just make a statement. Sometimes you are rooting for a film, but inside you’re nervous if it will succeed and have the impact you want it to. I’m hopefully this one will end in an audience audibly cheering.
The Memory of Water: Every year there’s a film that I dub the Official Tissue Selection. I don’t like sad movies. I’m not easily moved to tears. I’m a tough cookie and not the best audience for those emotional films. Eye rolls are more my style. But… sometimes you just need to see a film that you are 99.999% sure is going to make you a snotty mess. It reminds you you aren’t a total bitch, reminds you of the power of good film making and reminds you to buy Kleenex. I kind of think the Memory of Water has all the elements of poetry, life, breath and an ugly cry, and I can’t turn away. This could be the film that makes it okay to unabashedly shed that stupid moisture in front of a similarly ocularly damp audience.
My Feral Heart: Limits are a big life theme for me personally. I’ve been intrigued all my life by the evolution of self limitations and that x factor that some possess that allow them to never subscribe to the limited life. Centering around a rule breaking man with Downs Syndrome, this film caught my eye for that extra added complication to the “limits” conundrum, by focusing on a protagonist with a built-in “limit”… or perceived limit. Fresh, interesting and potentially a front-runner and favorite by the end.
My Golden Days: We keep making coming of age films. Because we kind of need them. I kind of need My Golden Days. I feel somehow my life will not be complete until I understand how some French teen boys coped with all the rebellious, angsty, awkward bits of their European upbringing. Thank goodness this film can attempt to complete me.
The Promised Band: One of the films I’m most excited about will bring to light one of the most critically important topics (that many Americans know way too little about) in one of the most creative vehicles. This is a Documentary that if they’ve done correctly could be pivotal in getting a very different, positive, hopefully and direly important message out about the Israeli and Palestinian situation. I smirk too that this film focuses on WOMEN solving problems, taking on challenges that many men have failed before them and approaching them in very new, non-traditional, and hopefully effective ways.
Vartak Nagar – A Story of Four Crows: I can honestly say I know nothing about 1980’s India. And, for that reason alone I’d like to see this movie. Okay, and the fact that I really love crows, though I highly suspect it’s just a metaphor and no REAL crows will appear in this film. India makes a LOT of movies. Like a lot. And, I see very few of them. Like almost none. And that’s a shame. So, for ignorance, crows and exposure, it’s all about Vartak Nagar!
Women in Oversized Men’s Shirts: Each year the past 3 or 4 years I’ve fallen in love with a Norwegian Comedy. I don’t know why, but I find their sentiment and brand of humor extremely satisfying. I haven’t placed too much emphasis on origin in my selections, but this year, having fostered such a lovely relationship with the previous films, I admit I did intentionally seek out this years NC. The track record will hopefully remain in tact with Women in Oversized Men’s Shirts. It might have a bit more drama than I’m apt to be attracted to, but I’m undeniably smitten with the idea that it could be as easy to please me cinematically as all that.
Included EVERY year, I never miss the Documentary Shorts, Comedy Shorts and Animated Shorts and this years Silent Film is an absolutely MUST SEE too. Prep your eyes, stamina and liver people, you have 2 weeks until the marathon of awesome begins. It changes my life every year.