Film 1: LOVE IS STRANGE (D. Ira Sachs)
A love story to gently ease our way into MIFF 2014. Fifty-four to go.
Film 2: IRMA VEP (D. Olivier Assayas)
Creak, creak, creak, rubber squeak, we are off and racing. Keep up. Look lively.
Film 3: THE SALT OF THE EARTH (D. Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado)
Coming full circle. The dark heart of humanity, from disillusionment to renewal through the eyes of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado.
Film 4: LOCKE (D. Steven Knight)
Up close, real close. A day of humanity at its best and worst makes for a brilliant first day of MIFF 2014.
Film 5: TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (D. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne)
Needles & Pins playing on the car stereo, a tale of solidarity and struggle in the familiar Dardenne landscape, in the icebox Capitol Theatre.
(In the film it is actually Petula Clark’s La Nuit N’en Finit Plus (1970) playing on the radio, but to me it is always The Ramones' version of Needles & Pins (1978) that I hear.)
Film 6: FORCE MAJEURE (D. Ruben Östlund)
High up the snowy mountain, where not admitting to a thing doesn't make it disappear.
Film 7: THE EPIC OF EVEREST (D. Captain John Noel)
Beside me, a woman slumbers through the beautiful and blue-tinted Fairyland of Ice in this restoration of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine's 1924 expedition, and I dream of making collages with moving footage.
(At only film seven, must sadly confess to being as tired as the newly born donkey in Mallory and Irvine’s 1924 EPIC OF EVEREST.)
Film 8: BLIND DATES (D. Levan Koguashvili)
In a reduced colour palette of blue, yellow, green and slate, I find my Dad's doppelgänger in our protagonist's father, Otar (Kakhi Kavsadze).
Film 9: THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS TS SPIVET (D. Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
Shucking corn and cataloguing insects with 3D glasses perched on the nose.
Film 10: ANTOINE ET COLETTE (D. François Truffaut) and FATHER CHRISTMAS HAS BLUE EYES (D. Jean Eustache)
Where 'cat house' doesn't mean 'we're going to the Japanese cat café', and Verdi is a first pressing that fails to woo.
Fifty-five films stretched over seventeen days on the calendar had seemed small at the time of planning and booking, but ten films in and we are reminded of the somewhat brilliantly punishing schedule. We humans, we might be poorly designed for all this rump-sitting in the darkened cinema house, but how very worth it it is, this self-inflicted, knee-seizing, caffeine-fuelled devotion to film. And how great, too, many of the films we’ve already seen. As Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado showed us through his images of displaced peoples and genocide, the human animal is, and always has been, capable of such cruelty and violence, but it is also capable of magnificent things too (The Salt of the Earth). From social systems to ecosystems and in glorious high-contrast black and white, the idea of things coming full circle is clear, and it is also what has linked the ten films seen thus far. It’s little wonder it is taxing to the seated punter; this whirligig spins fast. In a handful of days, we’ve seen love tested and pretence found (Force Majeure), and we’ve seen love triumph (Love is Strange). We’ve witnessed the price you pay for believing you are doing ‘the right thing’ in extreme close-up, snotty tissues and all (Locke), and allowed ourselves to be warmed by human relationships in the painterly and stark Georgian landscape too (Blind Dates). We’ve battled against nature at large and our own human nature within. We’ve seen emotional states crumble (Two Days, One Night), and been thankful when they’ve been rebuilt (with the beautifully abashed confession of a Xanex overdose). And all this leaves us ultimately greedy for more.
See you in the dark.
(Posting to instagram after each film, and here, High Up, when I can.)
+ The world between #MIFF2014 sessions looks utterly different. (Image source: Lantern slide from the collection of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
+ Night Owl in a house of snooze. (Image source: Lantern slide from the collection of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
+ Outside of the cinema, the winter sunlight is bright.
+ The beautiful Forum Theatre
+ BAAL (D. Volker Schlöndorff)