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four films, no real meals - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
steve98052
steve98052
four films, no real meals
Today, "J" and I saw four films, which I think is our high for this festival (except for a short film series J saw). We even skipped our usual Sunday brunch so that we could attend the second film of the day. All four films were at the Egyptian, which was pretty convenient.

The first film was Secret Festival #3. I rate it good, but I enjoyed it a bit more than most films I rate good, because of my interest in the subject. J was a bit less enthusiastic, but still thought it was pretty good. As usual, I can't say what it is because of the rules of Secret Festival.

The 1:30 pm film, which we saw during our usual brunch time period, Ears, was highly recommended by one of our SIFF friends, who rated it as his top film. I found it tedious, but J liked it a lot. She asked me something about whether I had read philosophy, so I would understand the philosophical merits of the film. I replied that I had read a fair amount of philosophy, and disliked the film in part for that reason. A quirk about the film is that it started with a 1:1 aspect ratio – square – and gradually broadened to almost 2:1, fairly wide. Other reviews saw that as a metaphor for the main character's gradually broadening view of the world, but although I find that idea defensible I still saw the aspect ratio games as just a quirky gimmick. I rate it lackluster.
Update: The friend who rated Ears so highly later rated one film even higher, In Syria.
Another update: Although I was disappointed with Ears, I gave In Syria a chance – and it was excellent.

The 4 pm film, with the long-winded title Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey, was a biographical film about pioneering mountain climber Fred Beckey, who has been the first person to climb far more mountains than anyone else. The term "dirtbag" refers to his attitude toward mountain climbing: every other job is just a way to finance mountain climbing expeditions. Besides mountain climbing, his main passions are writing about mountain climbing and womanizing. He was a prominent climber at the time of the first US attempt to climb Mount Everest, but others on that expedition were averse to working with a "dirtbag", and he was not invited to join that team. He's still alive, and in his 90s. As a documentary, I rate the film good; it didn't bore me, but it didn't suck me in all that much either. (One thing I liked about it was that it's not an outrage documentary, so it's a bit of a relief after seeing quite a few of those.) J liked it less; she found it tedious that the only women in the entire film were women Beckey had dated and then discarded in favor of mountain climbing.

The 6:30 pm film, May God Save Us, is a Spanish film about a serial killer who preys on old women, and police efforts to catch him. (The promotions mention the approaching visit by then-Pope Benedict, but to me that seemed like little more than a way to define the time period.) The two main cops on the case are a family man with anger management issues, and a stuttering analytical loner. The film makes some good social commentary statements in the first half, and settles down into being a solid thriller in the second half. I rate it good. J liked it less; by that point in the day she was tired of films where the only women were romance partners or (in this case) crime victims.

"T" spent the day in Bellevue, so J and I picked him up at my parents' place. My parents treated us to some sweet bread, which were welcome treats after a long day without much chance for real meals.

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