Today's first press screening was SuperClásico
, a Danish film set in Argentina. Middle aged Christian's wife Anna has moved to Buenos Aires to live with her boyfriend Juan Diaz, a star futbol player. He travels with his son Oscar to sign divorce papers – or, he hopes, to win her back.
The film is mostly comedy, but the dramatic side was moving and even better than the comedic side. The acting was solid all around, particularly the always-impressive Paprika Steen. I rate the film very good.
Update (early June): In retrospect, I've upgraded my rating of the film to excellent, since it remains one of my favorites of the festival.
The second film was Fat Kid Rules the World, a Seattle comedy based on the young adult novel of the same name. When fat, depressed high school boy Troy tries to throw himself in front of a bus, the homeless young punk guitarist Marcus rescues him. They become friends, and Marcus persuades Troy to become the drummer for his next band, Tectonic.
The film features a lot of Seattle locations, and several songs by Whiskey Tango and other bands. There's a night club scene at a place named Azenga, but I haven't figured out where that was. The film started rather cliche (particularly Troy's father), but characters developed nicely.
Although the drama was fairly tame stuff, the near-suicide opening (and several later scenes) seems too heavy for the "PG" rating. The comedy was strong, and I rate the film good – with bonus points for Seattle people for the fun of local scenery.
Special SIFF note: Some films shown at SIFF seem to be beneficiaries of local preference. This film was good enough to earn a spot in the comedy line-up on its merits.
Today's final film was Polisse, a French drama about the police's child protection unit. It's an episodic ensemble film, presenting the parts of cases that the police see; once a strong case is made against a suspect, the prosecutors take over and the police move on to the next case. The film's focus is on how the work affects the police than on the cases themselves.
The work is stressful, and the police frequently need a break to relieve their internal tension. That often means activities that might seem unprofessional in most work settings, but look credible in their line of work. The line between legitimate stress relief and goofing off leads to one of the film's most dramatic scenes. However, in all but one scene the police maintain their professional demeanor when they're with non-police. The exception, where they break out laughing during a victim interview, seems wrong: first, the situation isn't all that funny, and second, if the police thought it was that funny they'd excuse themselves and laugh in the hallway.
The directing and acting are solid, but the writing and editing could be tighter. Overall, I rate it almost good.
After the films, J and I ran a few brief errands and returned to my free parking space. It turned out that I had parked in a two-hour space, and I got an overtime violation parking ticket. Oops. And if I had parked a block farther west I would have been in an all-day space. At least we know better for next time.
This evening, J had a get-together with some of her friends. I wrote and in the meantime, then got invited to meet them when I went to pick her up. They're nice people.
When we got home, I made an experimental biryani dinner. Even though I had to make quite a few substitutions for ingredients we didn't have (such as Mexican-style salsa for tomatoes and onions), it came out pretty decent. It even had a degree of resemblance to restaurant biryani. Still, I think I need to shop for ingredients more carefully before I try again.