SIFFest Journey – Tuesday, 19 April 2005

19 Apr

(Siffest means abundance of hidden treasure awaiting to be discovered upon going to the cinemas and watch them yourself. Post-watching feelings, which can range from being satisfied to dumbfounded, is subject to our own’s perception, and pretty much our current state of mind.)
And to think that Siffest never attempts to be glossy and glitzy is pretty much justified by this conversation:

Jer : “Sorry for not returning your call last time. What’s up?”
Nov : “Huh? When?”
J : “Think it was Saturday lor …”
N : “Ooohhh! Oh! Yes, yes! It was over anyway. Got this extra ticket for one screening last Saturday. Eastern Sugar.”
J : “Aiyah, I couldn’t make it anyway. I’m not gonna watch any films in Siffest this year.”
N : (puzzled) “Whhhyyyy?”
J : “The film selections are sucks, man! What a crap! Don’t feel like watching any. Not as good as last year’s one, rite?”
N : “Eerrr .. Not really, though. You’ve got to keep on digging to find out the good ones.” *grin*
J : “Haiyah, dunno leh. How’s the attendance, not as many as last year’s, rite?”
N : “Surprisingly some shows are still sold-out, mah. Just now also.” (gue tau Bahasa Inggris gue ancur dah dari 5 taun yang lalu, stralah!)
J : “…”
N : “…”

There goes Jeremy, another F-buddy of mine who bid his much-regretted goodbye at this year’s fest.
And he’s not the only one.
I myself couldn’t stop questioning this year’s fest committee over their choices of films. As if adding salt to the wound, the rise of the ticket price heightened the curiosity on the matter.

However, at the end of the day, film fest experience is like an adventure to an uncharted territory. You might be taken aback at what the map shows you for its full of uncertainties. Surely Godard is the master of avant-garde cinema, but is he still up to the hype? Garin Nugroho goes mainstream this time, is it any good?
Dare to make choices, that’s the key to lure yourself into the free-falling experience of film festival.
You may dismiss Mike Figgis’s Hotel last time, or you may joy over Since Otar Left, perhaps. Whatever your mixed-feelings tells you, you will not just experience either side of emotional state upon completing your whole journey.

It might be too early to tell, but tonight, I had the best of both extremes.

Let’s start from the low-side, being dumbfounded and puzzled in confusion, thanks to Primer.


The first glance of its sephia-tone look revokes the memory of watching 70’s B-grade thriller, yet the premise turns in an unexpected way. The film tells about two engineers who work on (something) that will enable (the thing) to achieve (another thing).
The thing, that’s something I wasn’t able to figure out.

Yet, for a smart, slick thriller that is filled with too many scientific jargons, it is surprising to see how the film manages to keep its audience glued to the seat from the beginning to the very end. One or two old folks walked out, but that’s about it, and the rest of the audience, sadly that includes me, tried too hard to decipher the content of the film. Yet, in the end, I could only remember the look of the film, but nothing much. And that’s too much for an indie flick generating good buzz anywhere.

There’s nothing wrong with good buzz, though. Certainly the other film is worth every penny of good buzz it has currently enjoyed, and the enjoyment of this film (and in this film) is surely something that the whole audience will flock to see it over and over again.

Ladies and gentleman, the first film from the fest worth all the praises: Millions.


Imagine a colorful film filled with sharp-cutting editing, resulting in rich images similar to those you usually find in pop-up books.

Imagine a story drawn from the innocent child’s point of view, told with sincerity and honesty at their fullest.

Imagine a fairytale where imaginary characters come true in real life.

Imagine that being good in cynical world is still possible and rewarding.

And imagine.

The wholesome cuteness is a brain result from the direction of Danny Boyle who did, ahem, Trainspotting and 28 Days Later …, and the magical writing of Frank Cottrell Boyce who penned, ahem, 24 Hour Party People.

No matter how imaginative Millions might be, its charm appeals widely and strikes us, adults, who can’t help but crying in joyful over the lost innocence we have left long time ago.

Imagine, a film that leaves you feeling rich, as rich as Millions itself.

Millions by Danny Boyle

Imagine that such a treasured grace is found here in the dreary land of SIFFest.

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Posted by on 04/19/2005 in English, Film


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