Posted by: TomA | 30 September 2006

Surreal cinema experiences…

The 25th Vancouver Film Festival started on Thursday, so Becky and I went along last night to see two films. Outside was a bit of a scrum, with no one entirely sure how to get tickets or which queue to join for what film etc. We wormed our way through, got tickets for both Everything’s Gone Green (supposedly sold out) and Lunacy.

EGG was somewhat surreal. Based in Vancouver, written by Vancouver resident Douglas Coupland, and full of Vancouver in-jokes (mainly about TV movies, cannabis, and boat trips around English Bay, though some of the rest completely bypassed us….), it was odd watching a film with so many places I recognised and had walked about earlier in the week. To add to the sense of bizareness, the director gave a brief chat before the film, as did Coupland and the leading actress. In addition to all that, most of the rest of the cast seemed to be there, including apparently the dude from Road Trip who everyone fancies (or some I’m told). And then as the director runs through the cast that were present, the Chinese gentlemen sitting next to us stands up and gives a little wave, to considerable applause. First time I’ve sat next to someone and watched them on screen at the same time….

We left before the Q&A session at the end to make sure we got to the next film on time. Lunacy was surreal in a more typical nature, as Jan Svankmejer tends to be. Throughout the film, there were lots of little animations – imagine Wallace & Gromit made with offal and not plasticine. Lots of pulsing steaks, walking brains and tongues licking one another. Rest of the film was set in Czech Republic, and had lots of debauched, depraved and strongly anti-religious themes. Not that I can say I understood the symbolism, connections or meaning behind most of it. There were lots of naked men throwing feathers at one another in mental asylums. Lots of confusion as to who was sane and who wasn’t. And lots of bits stolen from Edgar Allen Poe. A film that might take another watch to make most of the connectios, but first time round it was very enjoyable, with enough to grasp to make the ending clever, while leaving the feeling there’s more depth there too… At the end the leading actor was there and did a little Q&A, managing to avoid most of the questions on the meaning, and focussing on the inane in a rather entertaining way… All very fun.

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