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SXSW 2016 got off to a banging start with easy access to the films and a Ferris wheel ride! Whee!
Our first film, Mr. Gaga, was an imaginarium retrospective of the work of Ohad Naharin, the reknowned dancer and Modern Dance choreographer from Israel, transplanted to NYC. Modern dance is a an evocative spectacle because it is evocative of the choreographer's emotional state or political feelings...compare it to an author who creates by writing her feelings and thoughts, a painter who finds expression in brush strokes, or a singer like Nina Simone. Yes! Modern dance is the dance version of Nina's singing: rebellious, truthful, honest, raw, self-possessed. It's how you would dance around your living room naked when no one is there! Free and expressive!
FILM #2 9 Rides, shot entirely with an iPhone 6s, was an interesting portrait of an Uber driver trying to overcome his demons on New Year's Eve, over the course of 9 rides prior to and succeeding Midnight. His personal life unfolds before us and his hypocrisies come to light. The story is somewhat incongruous and confusing, but comes to fruition at the end and leaves us questioning what is the reality of his life. Pretty good film written and directed by a former NFL football player!
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(Haven't completed edits in this section... Please forgive errata)
Sat. March 12 DAY 3
Film #3 Hunt for the Wilderpeople was superb! Majestical! I'm moving to New Zealand instead of Denmark now! :) Beautiful panoramas of the NZ Bush and people. A troublesome boy in foster care ends up with a somewhat-wild New Zealand bushman, running from foster care and determined to stay with his new family. The Director was not on site, but offered a hilarious soliloquy pre-recorded for the audience. My throats hurts I was laughing so hard the entire film. Best one so far! I can't wait to see it again!
Film #4 Miss Stevens
Complications of relationships between students and teachers outside of the classroom, and how it can move beyond acceptable social boundaries when you have two sensitive people converge, despite age disparity. This one moved me personally.
Film #5 Addiction karaoke
Unusual film about broken people running away from various life tragedies and escaping in a basement norebang. Cohesiveness in the end as they unify in their dysfunction. Much loss in each person's life, loss of family, loss of innocence. Great film but very slow at first. Of course I am biased because of my association with Korean culture.
Film #6 War on Everyone
Don't even know how to explain this one! Same director from In Bruges and Calvary. An incongruous amalgam of non-gratuitous violence, political incorrectness to the max, a stooping Viking God, corrupt cops, a Cyclops, an against-type casting of intellegentsia and pro-feminist stripper... Need I say more. An excellent and remarkable film!
Sun Mar 13 - DAY 3
Film #7 Insatiable: The Homaru Cantu Story
Film #8 collective:unconscious - waaaaay too weird and way too loud with weird sound algorithms that were abrasive and disturbing. Left after the second one. This was like a middle or high student's summer film project.
#9 Hardcore Henry! Visual attack and sensory overload. Grossly violent but not gratuitously so until the end. An amazing film from the characters perspective, as though you are him and wearing a VR head wrap. Hilarious and exciting. Sharlto Copley played about 20 different characters and did an incredible job!! He was so funny! The visual assault from the film was overwhelming, but in a good way; I screamed several times from surprise and bodily shock.
Dinner break at Max's wine dive- My ears are disturbed and I am on aural overload with blaring music from 2 blocks away, combined with the restaurant speaker above our table, a helicopter roaring by, bike taxi bells ringing, waitress shouting in my ear, traffic, and pedestrians and restaurant patrons chattering away.... Aaargh!
Mon Mar 3/14 DAY 4
Happy 3.14 Pi Day!
Movie #1 of the day.
A remarkable film by an Arabian Film maker, who had an Iranian composer for the music, filmed in Forres, Scotland, and starring an Arabian man. Surprising at the end. Also wove a documentary about the locals into the narrative created by the filmmaker! Demonstrated the very insular attitude of a small town in Scotland. That was closed to outsiders and seemed full of in reds and drunks, initially. As you became acquainted with the characters they open themselves up to our inspection and we learn the reasons behind their daily drunkenness and seemingly created rants. Social gatherings revolve around The Eagle, a local pub. There is lot of cigarette rolling going on, multiple suicides, and your standard weefrees. I learned that Seamus is Scotch for James, but still dont' know what "weefrees" means. Everyone seems like they want to escape, from this town, their lives... The Writer/Director used real characters in real life to wrap around his narrative, which was incredible, because you never knew that the only professional actor in the film is the main character––they were that good (as well as his direction and cinematography!!! I love the idea of fiction within a documentary, or vice Versa!
Loved the Scotch brogue, now I have to move to Australia for two years, then New Zealand, then Denmark, then Scotland. Of course, back to Korea at some point too.
Curious saying: "If you're feeling, dog, mate..." Meaning, if you are feeling really, really sick.
Missed Spaceship bc it sold out so came to Le Cafe fro crepes and a delish cafe au lait. Classic crepe with bechamel and dessert crepe with juice and sugar!
Farming doc that was rather sad and realistic. Goat dairy farmers that worked their butts off (literally) for a decade, only to go out of business and have to close because of raw milk regulations in Oregon. The film opened with the arduous birth of a baby goat, covered pre-dawn to post-sunset daily work (it made me tired just watching), the death of a beloved dog, a couple of donkeys, daily milking by hand, not to mention all the farming of vegetables, and plucking of chickens and then hand processing those to feed the three that worked the farm. A blatant non-verbal accusation of guilt passed on society for not allowing the sustainability of the family (non-factory) farm. It was sad to learn that they were forced to shut down their farm and move elsewhere. Sigh.
Tues Mar 15 DAY 5!
2 films today
Walked 3 mil
Arrived an hour early for the North Korean doc, but it filled up after we waited nearly the entire hour. I went to see You Me Her instead. Same thing happened for the Silence doc. Both of these were playing at Ritz 2, which only seats 72 people. Aargh! I waited for 30 minutes for the second one, then just decided to go see the Ethan Hawke-playing-Chet Baker narrative feature.
Film #12 You Me Her
Polyamory us relationship within marriage. Great film!
Film #13 Born to Be Blue
Starring Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker, the Jazz trumpet player. Meh. Kind of slow, music was nice, but his character wasn't, and it's not like the acting nor story was jaw-dropping. Probably great if you are a huge fan of Chet Baker, which I love jazz and his contribution, but the movie was meh.
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Weds Day 6
FILM 14 Accidental Courtesy what an excellent film about an amazing man, DAryl Davis, who goes around the country going around trying to reconnect people and bring whites and blacks together as Americans living in the same country. He has befriended multiple KKK "Grand Wizards" or whatever they are called and over the course of years, they have renounced their views and left the KKK! He's also an amazing educator of black history in America, enlightening us to the fact that it was a black man who designed the DC street grid system (though a white Frenchman got credit), as well as sharing his expansive knowledge of blues, country, and jazz, and who truly began Rock-n-Roll, chuck Berry and other black artists, who taught the likes of Elvis, etc. He is an amazing musician as well who still plays. The Director came onstage after the show to discuss the film as well as the young man who confronted Jeraldo Rivera during the Baltimore riots when another unarmed black man was murdered by white police. He was featured in the doc, disagreeing with the Daryl Davis, saying that he should have done more for his race than befriending KKK me members. But I think he's done miracle work for increasing the knowledge about black history and trying to bring us together as Americans, that we are all the same, and his being question: "How can you hate me, if you don't even know me?"
FILM 15 Ovarian Psycos
What an amazing film! I am so happy I decided to fit this one in! This is a group of Chicana women who formed a bike group with the creative title of Ovarian Psycos. Their mission is to take back the streets of LA that have been hijacked by criminality, create a voice for women who are disenfranchised because of race and background, and also a safe place for women who have been victimized by violent crime. Their organization hierarchies have colorful names like SLiTs and Ovos, among other titles, to reclaim feminine terminology and disallow terms related to women being seen as dirty or objectification. Many of these women have it harder than other "white" women because of their background and familial culture, which impresses the typical matriarchal role for women. They press back! There social bike rides have gone from a small group to hundreds, and now they are supporting other feminist causes and raising fund s too help women who are victims of violence. I want to start one here in ATX!
Left Ovarian Psycos early to get in for Morris, but he venue boards aren't being updated properly and so it showed green, but when I arrived they had already closed it down! Aargh! But, got to talk to a SXSW Venue manager and gave her feedback on how disorganized the fest is this year, how they aren't tracking wristbands, aren't letting in wristband in a timely manner, and the volunteers don't know anything! June Nyugen was very responsive and helpful and nice!
Day 8, Fri March 18
Film #22 Orange Sunshine
“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend"
The film begins with the premise offered by the above quote by Aldous Huxley, in The Doors of Perception
Okay, wow, I mm just blown away by this film: I thought it would be about surfing but it was about LSD and spiritual growth through the use of it, those that wanted to share that path of introspection and self-evolution in the 60s and 70s, and the group of surfers who became the largest purveyors of LSD and hashish in the US during that time, known as The Brotherhood of Eternal Love. And that's exactly what they wanted to spread: Love. They thought LSD should be free so that all could experience this mode of spiritual insight, weren't out to make money, gave away a lot of LSD, and just made enough profit to manufacture more LSD and import more hash.
After the screening, I spoke with the Director and also the "stars" of this documentary who were founding members of The Brotherhood, who are an amazing couple in their 60s who still "turn on" with LSD and promote its use to attain spiritual enlightenment! The doc was their story and the story of other members who ended up forming a family commune outside Laguna Beach, CA, and we're very family-oriented and are still all very close friends. Their 5 kids were at the screening as well, to show support. Lovely family.
There were bits about Timothy Leary, Ram Das, the Weatherman Underground, and the lawyer who defended all of them. I had no idea that Mr. Leary was sentenced to 30 YEARS IN PRISON when caught with 2 roach ends. He was basically a political prisoner in his own country for his political views and pro-drug stance. It's hard to believe that happened in America. It's equally hard to believe that drugs are still illegal, which creates all the crime and black market, and questionable quality, along with lining the pockets of many and increasing an unnecessary military and police presence in our country. Arrests for pot put people in jail for years and it's ridiculous. I don't do drugs, but I definitely support decriminalization of all drugs and more freedom from government intervention in people's personal lives! It's ridiculous that we fill our prisons with non-violent criminals, give them records, which increases joblessness, and the war on drugs definitely is a racially-biased war, sided against blacks, who. Reap the rewards of this war with increased poverty, joblessness, and the inability to vote--which I know Republicans love.
Standing around after the film talking with various people and those in the film, I had a serendipitous meeting and made a new friend as well! Whee!