Filmmaking always carries a unique set of challenges. It’s a collaborative art that needs multiple conditions to not only be set and met, but go right. The filmmakers behind Dog Sweat, Hossein Keshavarz and Maryam Azadi, deserve a special award (say an Independent Spirit Award?) for the challenges they dealt with in creating their profoundly moving and entertaining ensemble piece.
Dog Sweat, slang for anything illicit, and filmed underground in Iran, follows twentysomethings (and maybe a couple thirtysomethings) in Tehran, trying to live their lives “amidst limitations and oppressions as their scenery,” as Hossein explained. I had the pleasure of speaking with the filmmakers after the world premier of their film at the LA Film Festival, both wrote the script, Hossein directed and Maryam produced, and they are delightful, charming, and intelligent, but don’t let my lighthearted language betray the gravitas of their film.
Dock Ellis and The LSD No No. This innovative and highly entertaining animated short film, winner of an audience award at the LA Film Festival and a true American Story for your weekend.
Pictures of throngs of screaming fans at the Eclipse premiere held in LA last week in conjunction with the LA Film Festival. Eclipse opened today to reviews that can be summed up as could’ve been worse.
I actually had to perch on an ice cream cart to snap these (Don’t worry, I bought ice cream and tipped generously for my standing room only vista).
This Kids Pack from Regal Cinemas: a small popcorn, fruit snack, and soft drink for $5.95. A cheap, if not healthy (for kids or adults) dinner. I ate this almost every day of the LA Film Festival. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go walk the Williamsburg Bridge now.
Newcomer James Frecheville, one of the stars of the critically acclaimed and Sundance winning Animal Kingdom, sports my glasses following a sold out showing of his film.
Sources and my instincts tell me this kid’s star is on the rise. Animal Kingdom, an Australian crime drama from director David Michod has been compared to The Godfather and has been captivating festival audiences.
Luckily and deservingly, Sony Pictures will be releasing the film this Fall. See you there!
Catch the trailer here
The LA Film Festival has given me chance to get reacquainted with car culture. Check out this jalopy behind me! Don’t worry, I’m stopped at a red light as I make my way from the rad Downtown Independent, an, you guessed it, independent theater with a storied past that includes a stint as burlesque venue and a run as the headquarters of the Mexican Mafia, to LA Live, the hub of all things LAFF.
When Parade, from Japanese director Isao Yukisada, hits theaters RUN, don’t walk, to see it. This highly entertaining, highly stylized realistic drama careens into a more surrealistic exercise in it’s latter half as it takes it’s viewer on a ride that is one part Reality Bites, one part American Psycho. Often funny, and at times existential and moving, this film explores the relationships between friends, lovers, and strangers. Based on a novel of the same name, Parade is about the connections between twentysomethings living in Tokyo and asks how well we know the people we live and play with. Are we more connected to each other, via roommates and cell phones and city living, or falsely connected on the most tenuous of terms?
Parade is executed with superb direction and an engrossing atmosphere and stars a magnetic Japanese cast delivering nuanced, comedic, and poignant performances.
Parade also dares to explore a character who has a complex relationship with rape and violence against women due to her past. Never melodramatic or easily defined, this film betrays conventions, at times by using them, in surprising ways.
Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Spicy Sauce from the Ahn Joo truck. Chef Debbie Lee, of The Next Food Network Star, launched her Korean snack bar addition to the food truck market this week at the LA Film Festival. Not only are these noodles delish, they are saving me from a diet consisting of popcorn and the nutrition bar that’s sponsoring the festival, Zone Perfect.
You are all getting Zone Perfect Bars for your respective religious holidays this December.
Tonight, I am seeing Mahler on The Couch. Mahler and Freud (and passionate affairs) you say?! It’s like Christmakkah come early!
(Update: Enh. Barbara Romaner is a tour de force in and of herself, but the film…not so much. Perhaps my ennui is even more pronounced because it does seem to have so much going for it.)
Camera, Camera just had it’s world premier at the LA Film Festival. This documentary debut from director/cinematographer Malcolm Murray and writer Michael Meyer (you know it’s a good team when even their names sound good together) focuses their camera on the scenery and people of Laos and on the cameras of Western tourists there to partake in both the former and the latter. I talked to the talented filmmakers yesterday, but I wanted to post their trailer ASAP in case any of you Tumblrs happen to be in the DC area, as Camera Camera is showing at Silverdocs this Thursday the 24th and Saturday the 26th. This film is not be missed and while it’s surely the first of many greats from these guys, you’ll you want the bragging rights to say you’ve known about them since back in the day.