Under International Competition, we were treated to a hodge-podge of films, and an enjoyable evening! Par for the course at the International KurzFilmFestival’s venues, the staff at cinema 3001 was engagingly helpful. When the curtain went up, we were thrown into a witty, psycho world albeit a-la-madman, following a gardener with his chainsaw. He takes us on a tour of the Herbert-Gerisch-Foundation, ending, where else but in the bathroom. Clever usage of Hitchcock’s voiceover from Germany’s 1960 Psycho trailer—yes, that’s Hitch speaking German: Das Badezimmer (The Bathroom), Bjorn Melhus / Germany, 2011, 5:15 minutes / VO, experimental.
Director Morrison creates a sense of tedium using Time Remapping (editing technique); we are part of the crowd gathered outside the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia on March 17, 1930, waiting for Al Capone’s release. By minutely adding film footage, the image changes; original background noise is soft. Eventually a man emerges. Reading the program, we know an imposter—the real Capone slipped out the night before: Release, Bill Morrison / USA, 2010, 13:07 minutes / no dialogue, experimental. Afterward, during the question and answer phase, Morrison had to correct the inattentive interviewer who was monotonously repeating questions.
We accompany Piotr on his first three-day leave, following15-years of incarceration. The inmates kid him; the no-nonsense guards check him out. Three friends pick him up, and stay close as he nervously confronts the alien landscape, gawking unabashedly at people, the technological gadgets, and the altered lifestyle. Piotr explains how what he would dream for, and what is possible at this point in his life, are miles apart. Most heartrending is what he chooses to buy, and his experience bringing it back inside the prison. 3 Dni Wolnosci (3 Days of Freedom), Lukasz Borowski / Poland, 2011, 27:51 minutes / Polish, documentary: definitely a social message here albeit subtle, with insight as to why long-term convicts frequently find it kinder staying on the “inside”. How Borowski shot this would be interesting to know: the naturalness everyone displays is fascinating.
Black humor, intrigue, and blood and gore are alive and well in Asia. Hyunsu gets an alarming call, leaves work, rushes home, finds his son standing over a friend’s body, and then looses it. Which mom does not rectify when she arrives. But having chosen their path, forge ahead they do, with their youngster nonchalantly trailing along, as they focus on protecting him. Although the script is erratic and somewhat absurd, production values and acting is first rate. Whether intentionally, an implied caveat is the potential consequences of lax parenting: Mo-deon Pae-mil-li (Modern Family), Kwang Bin Kim / South Korea, 2011, 18:03 minutes / Korean–English subtitles, fiction.
Taking a pregnant bride home to meet one’s parents is daunting. Especially if she is a hot-blooded Spaniard, and your solid, reserved parents are Norwegian. All are expectant and understandably nervous as they climb into the car, homeward bound. Dad is genial, mom prods, and the present she gives the couple is questionable, unleashing familial bickering. We are relieved to leave them en route. Director Gunhild Enger creates fantastic tension and feelings of claustrophobia being cooped up in the car. To achieve this, she shot all 16:05 minutes in one uninterrupted take, with unknown actors, over two days; what we watch was shot midway through the second day. Ms. Enger’s poignant film and ingenuity deserves copious kudos. Following the film her personable exchange directly with the audience carried the interview: Prematur (Premature), Gunhild Enger / Norway, 2012, 16:05 minutes / Norwegian/Spanish/English–English subtitles, fiction.
The evening’s viewing, varied and eclectic, whetted my appetite for more. A suggestion though, is that film festivals should find presenters that are able to personably communicate. Who talk to an audience and listen to the directors they interview. Who formulate questions extemporaneously and pay attention to whether the microphone is working, and know when to say goodbye. Also, wouldn’t it be nice if festivals’ presenters would introduce a film with a line or two, instead of regurgitating what’s in the Program that everyone has already read.
International Competition Category
TRT: 80 minutes