Excellent program, sadly underattended. Used to sell out both screenings – what happened?

The Moon and the Son
The Oscar ™ winner for best short in 2006. Might not have belonged in this program, since it’s more than twice as long as any other short here. Guy venting frustration with his Italian ex-mafioso father via animation. I’m not into the whole squid-and-the-whale family bitching scene, but this was pretty good stuff. Faith and Emily Hubley mentioned in the credits, I guess as animators, though Faith died in 2001.

Bubblecraft
Kinda crappy music video to kinda crappy song. Things float by in bubbles, okay.

The Little Matchgirl
Disney cartoon that looks like Disney cartoon but moves… a little too smoothly… something seemed somehow wrong. Sad lil story of girl freezing to death set to some important music piece I forget which.

Man Drawing a Reclining Woman
Stop-motion! Director was there.

Loom
Stop motion… old woman is Death, collects thread from dying street musician’s head after he saves little girl in the street, weaves it in her loom. Director was there, spent four years on it, is angry about Adult Swim.

Dragon
Girl draws horrors from her past at orphanage, director sells drawings for lotta money, girl summons dragon to destroy director. Something about commercializing other people’s artwork… filmmaker must work for a heartless cartoon company that rakes in large profits while paying him beans. Unjust!

The Mantis Parable
I never get parables. The mantis wouldn’t save the caterpillar, but the butterfly saves the mantis, or something.

The Zit
Gross. Cat pops huge zit or something.

Drawing Lessons
Girl can’t sleep, learns to draw Picasso upside down while listening to thrift store tape or something. Director tries to nimbly jump between insomnia and drawing and tape facets of plot but didn’t seem so nimble to me. I don’t always get the point of cartoon shorts… seems like they put too much thought into being fucking nimble and end up with nothing much to say and then you’ve got everyone telling me oooh, The Cathedral is a great little movie and I should see it. Not saying Drawing Lessons is as sluggish as The Cathedral, but both focus so much on technique and nothing else – intended audience seems to be themselves and fellow animators.

The Sandbox
Now this one had something to say, I think. Maybe about the world trade center. Maybe about the tsunami, or about absent parents, or The Future? I didn’t get it… was kinda pretty, though. Kinda.

Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot
Finally a great one. Fumi’s foot is bad luck, and everything crashes into it and hurts her, till she learns to use its extreme bad luck to draw misfortune away from others. Nice closing shot, with Fumi walking through a field, tripping bulldozers and things.

Juxtaposer
By the talented Joanna Davidovich. Girl on bench just wants to get along with cat, I think.

Ichthys
The Cathedral, part 2, wherein guy at restaurant grows old while waiter catches tiny fish for dinner. Great part involving screaming and arms falling off, the rest an exercise in tedium.

Fluid Toons
Fantastic plymptoon & stimpy style badass grungy little bunch of skits with more humor in ’em than everything previous (except Fumi) combined. Voices obviously done after the fact just add to hilarity. Downloadable too! Kinda terrible, but also the one I most wanted to see again. That’ll show all you serious artists.

Chickenheads
More fluid toons, starring a chicken hunting rabbit. Artist in attendance!

The whole point of keeping a film journal is to write about these movies right after I see ’em, to preserve details, remember plot points, since I’m so quick to forget things like that. Moolaade is the kind of movie I feel comfortable waiting three weeks to write about, since I’m not about to forget any of the details. Maybe so memorable since I talked about it with Katy afterward or since we watched it in two parts spanning a week, but I think just cuz it’s a simply told and visually exciting and completely unique and memorable movie on its own.

01

Collé is the middle of three wives, I believe, and has had what we’ll call “the surgery”. Sex is unpleasant, as it should be. Four girls run away from the pre-surgical ceremony and ask her for protection, and she offers it. As long as they stay in her household and she doesn’t utter the phrase to break the spell, nobody can touch these kids. The villagers throw every kind of intimidation at her… husband whips her in public, it is promised that Collé’s daughter (who has also avoided the surgery) will never marry (untrue, as the guy she was promised to marry is a well traveled man, liberated from local superstition), Collé is personally threatened, all women’s radios are stolen and destroyed, and eventually the merchant is murdered. One of the girls is captured and dies in surgery, but Collé saves three, and celebrates with their mothers at the end.

02

All customs and beliefs in town are passed down through the ages with apparently little outside influence until the merchant and Collé’s daughter’s man and the radios start threatening the status quo with talk of modernity and primitive feminism… then the red-cloaked enforcers and village elders start cracking down and insisting on compliance with The Old Ways. It provokes an advancement of human rights, but a loss of (admittedly repressive) tradition and local custom. Funny how in movies, radio is almost always a good thing and television almost always bad.

Great movie – a shock after watching Black Girl first. Don’t know why I thought they’d be stylistically similar (since from the same director) although there’s forty years between them.

The Atlanta Film Festival brought Jim Henson’s daughter Heather to town, where she presented a collection of puppet films at the Puppetry Arts Center.

Harker (eerie puppet vampire tale)… Sammy and Sofa (and sock monkey, “jumping the shark”)… Ola’s Box of Clovers (chainsmoking puppet imagines her grandmother’s dreams)… Everloving (just a special-effects test)… Herd (alien abducts cows, convinces guy to build mysterious box)… Mother Hubbard… Mary Anning and Her Monsters… Mysterious Mose (fun music video)… Tales of the Tinkerdee (early Jim Henson program shot in Atlanta – troubadour Kermit narrates)… and Henson’s cancelled program of moralist shorts for kids, with a too-appealing baddie.

Brought to mind last year’s Somersault and Lila Says and Keene. Not likeable at all, but not worth hating.

Laura lived in the city, loved Chris, who got killed. So she married (Mark?), had a kid, moved suburb. Sleeps with strangers compulsively and might have killed her neighbor.

Ugly, shot on DV + transferred to film I think. Tops of all heads cut off – can’t tell if mis-framed or mis-projected but neither would be surprising. The lighting is either bad on purpose or just bad. Lots of close-ups on Laura looked great – everything else fell apart.

So why was this so crappy? The repeated scenes and not-at-all-fluidly jumping back and forth in time? The pathetic pointlessness of the dialogue? The boring portrayal of a woman who lost her dream man, dream career and dream life, ending up the one thing she didn’t want to be, a suburban housewife? Not even that bad a story or character – just never comes together into anything exciting! No excitement! No reason to watch it! Especially coming off X-Men 3, a movie with too many reasons to watch.

Oh wait, an IMDB reviewer says “writer/director Jason Ruscio said in Q & A … that he was inspired by the break-up of his relationship with the lead actress.” So another movie-as-therapy. The Squid and the Housewife, or something. How come Clean was so good, then?

Here’s me, running out to see the new Brett Ratner movie.

Kinda loved it, especially after all the badmouthing it got in the last few weeks… but did they have to be so brutal, killing and de-powering so many main characters? Have they no respect for the ongoing nature of the comic and the hundreds of x-men stories that have yet to be told? They just think they can kill off characters left and right because all the actors’ contracts are expiring, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more movies with different actors eventually. Still, super fun movie… intense.

Long, very nicely done. Music and intertitles, mostly-convincing period style but with (forgiveable, for low budget) 30fps video look. Triple Flashback (fb in a fb in a fb) tells of ship visiting uncharted island, seeing stop-motion tentacle-head Cthulhu, fleeing in terror… otherwise a lot of newspaper clippings and people who want their papers burned and unspeakable horror and such.

Also saw “Day of the Dead”, cutie cartoon (animated in korea) about an iguana learning about his mexican heritage or something… well intentioned but tedious. “The Shovel” a twisty little number where the dude from Good Luck Good Night is accused of killing his neighbor. “Tell-Tale Heart” nicely animated Sin City style with Bela Lugosi’s voice narrating from an ancient tape. And “Venom” about an old woman who loves cats, hates bugs. I dig how the AFF played the latter with no sound at all, with no apology or mention of the problem. I know it’s hard to run a festival, but that’s just like them.

Maggie Cheung won best actress at Cannes in May 2004, and it didn’t open here till June 2006, then left in a week. I was busy that week so rented it, damn it all.

Maggie’s rocker husband ODs in a hotel room and she’s off to prison for a few months. The rocker’s Nick-Nolte dad watches the kid while she’s away. She uses all her old connections to try to get back on track, ending up with a bunch of crap jobs and a vague hope for a future in music, while Nick is dealing with his dying wife and a grandkid turned against his mom. Maggie sort of lets Nick down at the end, but he doesn’t throw it in her face. Interesting characters, great looking movie.

I don’t get how talented filmmakers, having a high level of access to a couple very interesting subjects, can make a boring movie. They managed though, for the most part. Gets better towards the end, as the Yes Men schemes actually get less well-planned and more last-minute.

The guys run a website similar in look and address to the WTO site, so get called to speak at conferences. First time they devise gold jumpsuit with inflatable penis TV to monitor third-world employees while on the go. Then in conjunction with McDonalds they announce new recycled-food burger program at a classroom. Finally they disband the WTO completely, saying it’s completely failed to meet its stated objectives. Subversion is fun and they’ve got some particularly hilarious ideas, so movie was worth watching even if I complained about the editing all the time.

Not really a comedy like I’d thought, except for the parts with Grandpa in ’em.

Heaven Can Wait

Guy marries girl he likes, then when he dies, insists he deserves to go to hell but is wrong. I kinda don’t remember much already.