It’s already late (after 1AM as I write this), so I’m going to try and keep today’s update short & sweet.
I saw 4 films today!
First off, I saw Darren Aronofsky’s BLACK SWAN – the psychological ballet thriller starring Natalie Portman. The response to this film has been and will be mixed. The movie is clearly made by a skilled director, but at times the high stakes, grand gestures, and over-the-top dialog cross over from melodrama into camp territory. Overall, I enjoyed the film…but it seemed more like a guilty pleasure than a film by a master filmmaker.
Next I saw Woody Allen’s latest – YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER. Everyone’s life in this film is interrupted by their lover’s roving eye & libido. That said, the film is actually charming – but won’t go down as one of Allen’s best films. (However, Gemma Jones is a real treat!)
Next up was a Swedish thriller – BAD FAITH (dir. Kristian Petri). In it, a woman comes across a dying body on her way home from work – a victim of a homicide. The protagonist decides to solve the crime herself, but her sanity seems to be as much in danger as she is. This quiet, slow film had many good qualities, but when lots of action came into the picture in the 3rd Act, I found myself less interested.
Lastly, I saw the first true highlight of the fest for me. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s BIUTIFUL (Inarritu is known for 21 GRAMS, BABEL and AMORES PERROS.) This film, starring Javier Bardem in an incredible performance, takes place in Barcelona – yet the story has such a global understanding. Bardem is the central character, and early in the film he finds out that he has Cancer – yet he refuses to inform the people closest to him. The story is complex and beautifully done – with great camera work and interesting sound design. It’s a challenging film…but well-worth the 2.5 hours. (The film is in three different languages – all with different-colored subtitles. This allows the viewer to understand that not all characters are able to communicate with one another…a point that might escape some if only reading white, English subtitles.)
Here were 2 bonuses from today: 1) 2 seats down from me at the BAD FAITH screening was Atom Egoyan. 2) Alejandro and Javier were at the screening of BIUTIFUL…and they did a nice Q&A. (I got pictures)
In addition, I witnessed Edward Norton being whisked into the back door of a theater…and Milla Jovovich (someone had to tell me who she was) giving fans a quick pose before ducking into the same venue.
So that’s that. Full day tomorrow…complete with a big party. More soon! – Jonathan