Fantastic Fest 2007 – Playing Catch Up – PERSEPOLIS, DAINIPPONJIN, CRAZY THUNDER ROAD & RICHARD KELLY

So a couple of days now into Fantastic Fest this year and really enjoying everything. I’ve yet to fully overcome my head cold but I’m slowly coming around. Today I interviewed Richard Kelly for “Southland Tales.” It will mark my first interview done for this site. Will try and get it posted up soon. Everything else is at a near blur at the moment. “Southland Tales” I liked. It’s a challenging film for sure but its essentially “Donnie Darko” on a global scale with a really engaging post 9-11 discussion. The only thing I really didn’t care for in the film was the ending. Not sure if I’ll warm up to it or something will occur on repeat viewings that might make it hold up better. Kelly’s strong voice of cinema and the stellar ensemble acting make up for an often much more complex than perhaps it needs to be film. There is a lot to take in but it’s not as intense as say the Fast Food Grifters anime (that has a voice over with 9,999,999,999,000 words per second for its duration).

Persepolis” has moments of transcendence but certainly a film that I think has so much information that it will require stronger embracing after multiple viewings. The animation style was really something to marvel over in each frame and really hands down inspired. At times watching it I got caught up in the animation and missed the subtitles. It was also quite a intriguing glance into Iran and its history, culture and people. I never felt any of the politics became too heavy handed. Leave it to the power of cinema to show that despite location and differences, us humans aren’t too far different. A human tale we can all relate to and at the same time have our eyes opened on a country many of us only see explored in the media.

Dainipponjin” was a really hard film to take in on one sitting. Much of the film felt like it was told very softly at an almost whisper. The humor was there but it really mixed up how in your face or subtle it was. I’m sure I missed a lot of the humor but overall I enjoyed it. The hardest part of watching it was it being the midnight film and the air conditioning cranked up too far. In too cold of air conditioning it just makes me extremely tired fairly quickly. I did make it to the end that came so far out of left field that I really need to watch it again. Can’t really say I’ve seen a baby quite used as an action device in a movie like one is here. I’m looking forward to going back and catching more of this directors films. Magnolia has picked up this film for a US release (limited?) and most recently it played the Midnight Madness section of Toronto.

The Austin audience tonight for “Crazy Thunder Road” was amazing. Just getting to see it a second time was something I won’t soon forget. For what I guess is basically a college senior project makes for one hell of a nice little punk film that can. I love the energy of the film and the way it tries to unhinge itself from conventional narrative. I want the soundtrack now for this film. “Road Warrior” came out a year after this film. Someone in the audience said this print of Thunder Road has played before in LA (or perhaps they meant the film in some film print form has screened there at some point).

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