After the Saigon Electric's screening I attended a party in honor of the film. I'd only intended to stop by for a few minutes but ended up having such a great time I stayed well past midnight. I was lucky enough to meet the folks behind several of the short films at this weekend's Shortsfest (which I recommend everyone try to catch some of) including Cataplexy, Pillow, and A Doctor's Job. Past readers will know I really dug Cataplexy. I'm even more impressed now that I learned it was shot as part of a 72 hour film challenge. Also in attendance were the directors of Pillow - a beautifully rendered view of some seriously twisted angel abuse. Given that the folks behind that were surprisingly nice ;-). I hadn't had a chance to see the Shortsfest entry - A Doctor's Job yet so it was great to snag a copy from the director (Julio O. Ramos) himself. Hoping to watch and report back soon.
So between those encounters, plus a few minutes chatting with the director of Saigon Electric and tons of face time with old SIFF friends it was a great night of film nerdom (to steal a turn of phrase from Imaginary Amie).
I made my first foray to the Admiral theater in West Seattle - and boy am I glad I took the trouble. First off it's a really nice venue, with good projection and clear sight lines (at least where I was). And truth be told it really didn't take me that much longer than normal to get there. Plenty of street parking doesn't help. Oh, but you may want to know something about Littlerock the film ...
A brother and sister from Japan are traveling across California when their car breaks down. Stranded for a couple of days they begin to hang out with some of the small town's locals. He speaks some English, she none. The reasons for their trip aren't immediately clear though we learn their father was opposed to it for reasons that only surface in the last act. While waiting for a new rental car siblings explore the alien landscape. Both seem to find something positive, though more so the sister who is rather rapidly won over by the town. In part through the other kid's willingness to show them around - and it seems in no small measure due to a physical attraction to one of the boys. Their guides have their own issues to deal with, and it's easy to spend a lot of your viewing time what's going on below the surface. This deeper level may or may not be entirely clear to the visitors due to the language and cultural gap.
It's hard to say if everyone will have the same reaction, but I just fell in love with the feel of the film early on. The multi-angled sets of perceptions whirling around and the refusal of the film to tell you how to interpret them results in a fascinating universe. All within a dusty little town. I there's a sense of tension throughout - though the film is laced with enough fish out of water humor to keep things mostly light. It's a voyage of discovery for the characters, and I for one was glad to come along for the ride. I'd highly recommend keeping an eye out for an opportunity to catch this one.
expensive ones in 3D. The film succeeds in delivering both some of the most exciting AND natural feeling dancing I've seen in a while. Combining the honest vibe of a documentary like Planet B-Boy but driving things home with hyperkinetic moves that are the equal of a dramatic feature such as the Step-Up franchise the film basically just works. Set in Vietnam the filmmaker opts for a full of bright palette of colors and populates the picture with a combination of professional actors and talented up and comers resulting in a bright cheery tone that grabbed me from the start. While the film is squarely in the category of what a friend called the "I'm poor, you're rich, let's dance!" genre it has enough teen angst, romantic comedy and teens against the system aspects to be broadly appealing. Even if you're not quite the sucker for breakin' past adversity films as I (surprisingly I'll admit) am.
The picture opens with one of the kids working on his routine bare chested, pants sagging in a thin puddle of water. It's a visual device that's certainly been used before - but even so it sets a deliciously gorgeous tone for the remainder of the film with water droplets highlighting the moves that seems to taunt basic physics. That strong open sets us up for the story. A young girl comes to the big city with the dream of gaining a spot at the dance academy to continue her study of classic ribbon dance. Failing that out of fear she falls in with a streetwise dance crew. Who in true Brady Bunch style need to win the local dance off. She makes friends, watches friends come, go and try to date above their station. Like I said - a LOT goes on. I suspect there's enough plot for maybe two or three more pictures. At the core it's all fun to watch which nice messages and a tear inducing final Battle. I could try to delve deeper into the "plot" - but I don't think there's that much point. Either this sounds fun or it doesn't. For me it was. And it's nice to sometimes see a flick which reminds me I'm not always a cynic. Check it out it you can. For another adoring review checkout Amie's post over at Three Imaginary Girls.