It's been a while but I figure I better get back into things and finish off the reviews things I watched in Palm Springs. A few more posts and I should be caught up. Would have been done earlier had blogspot's fancy new editor eaten a good chunk of my writing. I know it's a poor craftsmen who blames his tools - but I think that expression came along before web based buggy computing. Once I'm caught up I plan to go through the list of everything I saw there (and before if it screened during the fest) to put together my Palm Springs Best in Fest list.
The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (New Zealand)- very near the start of this film a man relates an experience at a party at a comedy festival. Learning from he hailed from New Zealand the producer asked him to give him a sense as to the state of comedy was there, for example who's the biggest act there? When he responded it was the Topp Twins, yodeling lesbian twins the fellow coughed and suddenly recognized someone else he needed to talk with. That anecdote is a perfect start to this documentary which gives outsiders a quick but effective crash course in the twin's career. The movie is both interesting AND entertaining. The Topp Twins grew up on a farm and developed a musical act that combines political country music with a series of evolving characters. This likely doesn't sound particularly appealing - but it's near impossible to dislike this pair. That characteristic as New Zealand everywomen (or men in some cases given their characters) plus their political positions have made them both comedy gold and a very positive face for the gay rights movement (and other causes) in their native country. There's nothing particularly fancy about this doc - but given the material I think that's just perfect. You wouldn't want to steal the thunder of the twins (not that I'm sure you could). Peppered with historical footage and talking head interviews (cool to see Billy Bragg after so many years) I got a nice sense of their music, their positions politically and the life they've lead. Hard not to both enjoy and be impressed.
Slovenian Girl (Slovenia)- Real estate can certainly be a trap in some cases weighing the owner down making them feel unable to escape their circumstances. We've heard a lot of stories along these lines in the news the last couple of years. The Slovenian girl brings a more extreme example of this sort to the fore. A cautionary tale about a college student who becomes a prostitute mainly it seems to improve here standard of living vs. a desperate physical need. As expected things are a little tougher than she bargained for - and as tough as she is it may not be enough. I liked this film for it's simple and not super melodramatic treatment of the subject matter and the depth they added via her relationship with her father. Can't call it must see, but nothing to run away from if the opportunity presents itself.
The trailer below is sort of odd as it has footage from the film I saw, but the subtitled voice over is not in the film. Interestingly enough it sort of lays the background for the film's start out concisely - where the film leaves you to wonder where things started for her.
I Killed My Mother (Canada) - ever argued in an aggressive, possibly mean verbal way with your mom as a teenager? Realized you loved her but had feelings of hate? Were openly out of the closet but couldn't/didn't share that with her? Ok, so a lot of people would identify with at least the first two - though likely not as extremely as in this film. For me though the question at hand isn't the authenticity of the mother/son relationship on screen but the larger question, "do I really feel a need to watch." There was a fair amount I liked here. Visually the film was well directed with several nice moments conveying a lot through style vs. dialog. Not to say there's a dearth of talking. There's actually a lot of it, and it's verbal/emotional violence that the title refers to - not the physical sort. I thought it was an interesting film that realistically captured the dynamics of the two people in its center. If you're in the mood to watch and analyze a relationship of this sort I think you might really appreciate (or likely love) this film. For me, sort of a been there, done that (to a lesser degree), don't need to watch it again attitude prevailed. But I'd definitely see the next film from this young director.