The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin (Benjamin Crotty)
A bit of anti-historical fun by the guy who made Fort Buchanan. Napoleonic soldier Chauvin is resurrected to collect some award, his acceptance speech turns into a fantasy that gets away from him, leading to some resurrected medieval dude pitchforking Chauvin’s girl, and explaining that the reason Chauvin can’t remember his parents is that he’s a fictional character invented by playwrights.
How Fernando Pessoa Saved Portugal (Eugène Green)
Carloto Cotta (Tabu, Diamantino) plays an office writer hired to create a local slogan for Coca-Cola, asks his would-be poet friend for advice. The slogan succeeds only in alarming the health ministry (led by Oliveira star Diogo Dória) into banning the drink. Also a bit of fun, but not as anarchic as Chauvin, calm and precise like La Sapienza, full of direct-to-camera address.
Erased/Palimpsest: Ascent of the Invisible (Ghassan Halwani)
The goal was to watch this feature, but I turned it off after 20 minuttes, so adding it to the shorts. Logging a movie I didn’t watch is not standard procedure, but I make the rules here. It’s investigating war photos and portraits of the disappeared, memorializing them properly, drawing and animating them to give them new life, exposing missing-person flyers covered up by years of advertising posters. Serious and worthy concept, but the methodical slowness of it was too much for me – a single still image was onscreen for six of the first ten minutes, and I bailed during a montage of news articles on mass graves.
A Room With a Coconut View (Tulapop Saenjaroen)
iMovie title effects and an AI voice speaking Thai giving a hotel tour, doesn’t seem promising. Then an English AI voice starts challenging her on the mechanics of what is seen, until we’re getting scientific explanations of how sea waves are formed. “Oh no, the images are bleeding.” A new English narrator appears as the male English narrator leaves the Thai AI and goes on a voyage… discussion of the nature of tourism… one AI smokes a joint. Great movie.
Gulyabani (Gürcan Keltek)
Placid visual and narrated poetry, hard to adjust to this after the more insane Coconut View. No people are seen, narrator is a girl, molested by her dad, thought to be a prophet by the villagers. “Two actions may look the same, but one may be evil and one may not.” A very serious story involving military coups and child prostitution, but I was tuned out due to the problems of the work week. The director’s feature Meteors had played Locarno the previous year.
Man in the Well (Hu Bo)
Not about a a man in a well… featureless hooded figures wander a post-apocalyptic wasteland looking for food. Very different from the Elephant movie, except in its pacing. They find a dead person and immediately dig in with a saw. I guess they chuck the body down a hole – is that the man in the well? Odd little movie.