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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal

Today I saw five films, none of which I'd strongly recommend, for different reasons.

At 10 am, I saw Piranhas (La paranza dei bambini), an Italian drama about a 15-year-old who aspires to be a mob boss. Other than the age of the main character and the childish nihilism of some of his fellow youngster gangsters, it doesn't add much to the mafia genre. Good, but only for mob movie fans.

At noon, I saw Them That Follow, a US drama about a small rural community led by a snake-handling cult preacher. The main character is the preacher's daughter, and she gets pregnant. It's excellent, but may be a bit too disturbing for some viewers.

At 2 pm, I saw The Days to Come (Els dies que vindran), a Catalan drama about a couple whose lives are disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy. The performances, by a real-life couple, are excellent, but the film's pace is a bit slow.

At 4:30 pm, I saw EXT. Night (Leil Khargi), an Egyptian black comedy about a film director, a sex worker, and the cab driver who takes them on a haphazard trip through Cairo. It's good, but it's mostly not a comedy of laughs so much as a commentary on the absurdity of life in a place like Egypt, and not for everyone.

Finally, at 7 pm, I saw Cities of Last Things (Xing Fu Cheng Shi), a Taiwanese drama about linked episodes in a man's life, presented in reverse order: as an old man 30 years in the future, a youngish man in the present, a teen in the past, and (briefly) in his childhood. The story is good, but the execution is inconsistent.

If not for the impossible connection, I think I would have preferred the archival film The Bigamist, directed by Ida Lupino.

Back home, "J" took the day off, still catching up on rest after a stretch of intense film festival activity. I'm pretty exhausted too.

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