Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DIFF 8 – Day 6 Roundup

13th December 2011 (Day #6)

The stats in favor of good movies over not-so-good ones was not looking too good after the first four days of DIFF. But two days have changed that. Including the last two movies I watched on Day#5, I have now seen five movies consecutively that have won me over. Read on for my report on the three I watched today.

Las Acacias
Pablo Giorgelli | Argentina | 2011
84 min

The debut feature of Argentine director Pablo Giorgelli, Las Acacias is a road movie that observes the seeds of a new relationship between a truck driver and his erstwhile passengers, a mother & her infant daughter. Given the charge by his boss to bring a woman from Paraguay to Argentina on his trip, the lumber-truck driver initially sees this as a tepid inconvenience, eventually warming up to them. Directed with the patience and aesthetics of a mood-piece, the film does well to capture the journey the two adults make, on the road as well as towards each other. An observant start bereft of dialog sets the movie up nicely for a snug 84-minute experience of eloquent cinema, an experience easy to relish in.

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Turkey | 2011
157 min

Unnecessarily long and self-conscious to a fault, Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon A Time In Anatolia is, on the surface, a police procedural of a murder.The murderer has confessed to his crime, and the movie begins with him leading a team of policemen, a doctor, the prosecutor and sundry to the scene where the body was disposed. It ends two and a half hours later with some insight into some of the people involved and a fair understanding of what may have transpired. While the movie is shot extremely well in the director’s recognizable style (numerous wide-angle shots of landscapes, many that include clouds), there is a deliberate formulaic feel to many sequences. Case-in-point: the ineffective final scene. By a less-recognized director, this movie would have been a commendable effort. However, for the well-regarded Ceylan, this is a step-down. The opening two-shot prelude of the movie though is a master's work.

P-047 (Tae Peang Phu Deaw)
Kongdej Jaturanrasmee | Thailand | 2011
96 min

P-047 is a movie in the form of a jigsaw puzzle that gets the format mostly right. A key-maker and a film-continuity-assistant who aspires to be a writer team up to sneak into empty apartments during the day when the residents are away. They do this to observe and experience the varied lifestyles of people, thinking of it as borrowing their identities for a few hours. As expected, something goes wrong. The movie is about understanding these two characters, and the machinations of the plot that is told in a non-linear fashion. Without ever getting too complex, yet never really unraveling the entire puzzle, the movie works for the mental exercise it instigates, during and after the movie. The movie leaves itself open to multiple interpretations, yet neither is completely satisfactory as there will always be someone who will counter-debate a different but equally plausible interpretation. And therein lies the fun!

The festival is almost at an end. Just one day of two movies remain. Although I would prefer the last day to end on a high, suffice to say, my hunger has been satiated.

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