Wednesday, April 22, 2009

MSPIFF: Day 6

It's late. I'm tired. Don't expect much. Maybe not my best day of films, but it started out well:

Those Three (2007) directed by Naghi Nehmati
Another installment from Global Lens that was much better than Getting Home. Those Three is the story about three Iranian soldiers who defect while training in the snowy, mountainous region to the north. Locked in by low visibility and frigid temperatures, their freedom from the confines of the army is short lived. Moving but getting nowhere, the three men go on more of a symbolic journey than a literal one. Surreal, beautiful and apolitical, Those Three has a little bit of Gerry in it. Screens again Tuesday, April 28 at 9:45. Recommended.

Los Bastardos (2008) directed by Amat Escalante
If you are looking for a review of this film, look elsewhere. This is a review of my attempt to see this film. After a leisurely cup of coffee, I stroll into the lobby just five minutes before the screening to see the line stacked up. The start time comes; the start time goes; I hear rumblings about technical difficulties and I get worried. Twenty minutes late, we are let into the theater because the problem is apparently fixed. Not! After about a half and hour, focus starts to go wonky and the lights come up. Looks like the problem wasn't fixed. Wanna know what the problem was with? The video projector! It's a sign! The Film Fest should stick to film! Beware of screenings in theater 2!

Home of the Dark Butterflies (2008) directed by Dome Karukoski
A study in pop psychology, Home of the Dark Butterflies is set on an island for problem boys. A small group of adolescent boys are the project of this experimental home. Thugs, misfits and sociopaths, the boys are given hard work, some bible study and a good, solid father figure. This film was a little too predictable. This film took itself way too seriously, and I couldn't help but roll by eyes at the virile young angsty rebels turned into tamed beasts (or dark butterflies.) Screens again Monday, April 27 at 9:30. Not Recommended.

9 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

Man...hope you have a better day number 7!

Anonymous said...

So Los Bastardos was projected on video? The film is 35mm... and it was the USA premiere. It would be a shame...

Barry Kryshka said...

Not that I'm working with MN Film Arts (please don't associate me with the technical presentation of MSPIFF!) but as a favor for a friend, I just had a look at their video projector. That particular issue shouldn't be a problem again.

Kathie Smith said...

Yes, it was totally on video, a DVD I suspect. The problem was with the video projector. I have another opportunity to see Los Bastardos tonight, but I'm going to skip it and see something on film.

But thanks for looking at the projector Barry. The delay was stupid and the unfinished screening was even more stupid!

Daniel Getahun said...

Whoopsie-daisies, just got back from A Walk to Beautiful in Theater 2, delayed almost 15 minutes because of DVD, audio, and then DVD AND audio complications. Did get it working, though, with no further interruption.

Grain was playing immediately afterward and the there was a rush to turn the theater over. In the meantime they were doing the check for Grain and it was obviously on DVD. I don't know if it played more smoothly than last time, but it still appears there are issues with Theater 2 screenings.

Believe it or not I'm not as much of a stickler as you are for format (I'll whine but I may not boycott), and my bigger complain tonight was the St. Anthony staff. I don't remember anybody being rude last year when I volunteered, but from a paying customer standpoint I've been pretty surprised at the green shirts (save for the nice guy at the bottom of the stairs). This is not a dig at MFA - I actually really appreciate the single venue festival. But some of the theater staff seem particularly annoyed that MSPIFF is happening there. Somebody should have scheduled them for a two-week vacation during this time. I guarantee they're making as much in concessions (the only thing that matters) in two weeks as they normally would in two months.

Same goes for Pracna, for that matter. Our server last week was fine, but they should be doing cartwheels over there with the amount of traffic they get at this time of year.

Alright, I'm done ranting for tonight.

Kathie Smith said...

I guess there are some titles I expect to be on a video/digital format. All the documentaries I have seen have been on a format other than film. But I know when there is a title that was shot on film and being distributed on 35mm in other part of the world/country I feel like I am being cheated out of the opportunity to see it in its optimum form, especially at a film festival.

I'm staying away from screenings in Theater 2. I saw the line snaking for The Secret of the Grain before heading upstairs to The Mermaid (which also started late.)

I guess I'm a little frustrated by screenings starting late. Most nights, I am planning to see as many films as the schedule allows. Needless to say, I have to reassess the plan when a film starts 15 minutes late. A little type A, I know.

How did you like A Walk to Beautiful.

Barry Kryshka said...

To give the St Anthony Staff their due, the festival is a huge undertaking, and Milgrom is known for being a pretty demanding guy to work with.

Unlike Oak St, where a single screening of a film can be run directly off the small reels it ships on, St Anthony has only platter projection systems. So every film needs to be spliced together on a single large reel, and then split back apart after the show, even if there's only one screening.

A two hour film is about a mile long, and weighs 60 pounds, multiply that by 50 films, and you've got a pretty grueling couple of weeks.

Not that there's ever a good reason for theater employees to be surly to customers, but the amount of work being done by the St Anthony staff is huge, and it's probably why you can tell that they're looking forward to getting back to a normal work schedule.

Kathie Smith said...

Film fans can be tweekers too, and not so fun to deal with if they have a bee in their bonnet. I've seen a couple instances where customers were openly rude to the poor kids selling popcorn or sweeping the theaters. I've actually found the staff quite pleasant.

Part of my reasoning for not tugging at someone's ear (MFA or St Anthony) with my complaints is that I know they are all under a lot of pressure and despite mistakes or problems or the willingness to screen a DVD, there is good work being done.

There's my peace pipe.

Daniel Getahun said...

I thought A Walk to Beautiful was really well done. I saw another similar documentary at the Oak St. last year, but this one was a bit more inspiring. My father is Ethiopian so that makes this one a bit more personal, too.

Regarding the staff, I should really only point out that it's only been the box office crew that I've been a little soured by. I understand even they are only doing their job, but St. AM could at least put the people with the better customer service skills on the front line. I'll only speak for my own experience, though.

And I think the MFA staff have been patient with customers as well and explained the situations - at least Ryan was when AWTB was delayed last night.