SIFFest Journey – Sunday 24 April & Monday 25 April 2005

26 Apr

(Siffest has its own ability to lure everyone, or rather, some serious film-afficionado like me, to cash out their piggybanks in this annual pilgrimage. Hey, haven’t we heard this before? Oh c’mon, I can’t think of any “proper” introduction).

Or rather, juggling your work and doing something that has become your main source of feeling alive has never been easy. That leads to having tremenduous lack of time to indulge in our interests, and in this case, doing breadwinning work, watching films and review them has surely taken up most of my time.

Sacrifice is Freakingly Fabulous! That’s how SIFF should stand for.

And for the faithful followers of this so-called journey, you may notice how I’d to sacrifice some confirmed populist films on the list of the fest this year.

Resting time may be substituted, financial constraints can be solved by worshipping loan shark, but meeting your old friends and current ones who are not into films crazily like us is something worth doing, eventhough *deep sigh* we may have to be taken aback when people say something like,

“Hey, I love Garin Nugroho’s Rindu Kami Pada-Mu!”
“Really? I missed that :(“

But gladly, despite the hectic social hopping here and there, I decided not to miss another fabulous film which is more than qualified to be considered as another hidden treasure in the fest.
I was blown away, literally hopeful in fact, to the Far Side of the Moon.

Far Side of the Moon

So much so that it never fails to drift my attention away despite its cosmic subject playfully treated to become comical, yet touching.
On top of that, in a rare achievement of artistry, Robert Lepage manages to spread his artistic comandeering evenly, making the film a pleasant journey of viewing without any hints of watching a work of egoism.

As a director, he turns this film into one imaginative film that still sets its foot deep down to the earth.

As a screenwriter, he turns his own play into a series of quirky and witty utterances that invite genuine laughter.

As an actor, he slips into the dual roles easily, believing contrast characters among the sibling.

As a moviegoer myself, this is a film worth repeated viewings which deserve greater number of audience.

However, the same feeling is hardly the same as when I went to catch a documentary flick on Monday nite.
Common assumption sets that the fest is the best time when we can cram as many genres as possible. Therefore, a fest will not be complete without diversity of genres, and how can one resist new emergences of watchable documentaries?

But this time, as the title itself suggests, I was kidnapped by the terror haunting me when I watched Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst.

Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst

Arguably one of the most controversial kidnappings in the ’70s happening at the height of mass hysteria over Vietnam war that leads to rebellious movements from some underground organizations, which contrasted with the lives of the rich, the film presents the fact as is, without taking bravery on making its own opinion.

Whereas such action might be seen as an objective move, the film itself becomes lack of emotional attachment to the audience. Robert Stone presents the film in a straight-forward narrative structure, outlining the story in an organized manner of daily-come-weekly-come-monthly basis, as if to make us feel like observing the whole events as news, and nothing more than that.

Yet, the constructed structure takes its blow when the film abrupts its ending by presenting a footage of Patty Hearst a few years later transforming herself as a celebrity. As if to make an ironic comparison to her younger days being with the the Symbionese Liberation Army (that infamous SLA), the footage does not give any weight to the story as it blatantly is presented there for the sake of continuation of the story, to make it as chronological as possible.

And chronologically, this festival journey should continue, despite hiccups and bumpy roads here and there.

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Posted by on 04/26/2005 in English, Film


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