Sunday, October 2, 2005

NYFF 2005

On my first day attending the New York Film Festival, I saw two films. The first was a Czech film called Something Like Happiness (in Czech: Štěstí). Directed by Bohdan Sláma, it's a sort of bittersweet story about people in a small industrial town who all make a lot of compromises and don't get exactly what they want out of life, but somehow that's kind of ok. It's hard to explain, but there's something about it that's kind of pessimistic and optimistic at the same time. It's weird, because I generally really dislike American and British movies on this theme, but maybe that's because Americans and Brits always have to make some kind of point - and that point is usually either big drama about the injustice of it all, or big drama about the triumphant overcoming of circumstances. This Czech film seemed to be saying, "It is what it is, and we learn to love that too." I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The next film I saw, Tale of Cinema, was a painful Korean puzzlebox. I guess, the idea here, was that one filmmaker had made a film about two young people, and another (less successful) filmmaker believed that a lot of the details had been stolen from his life. Interesting idea. The problem is that the "film-within-a-film" part was such a laborious adolescent angst-fest that I fell asleep. I missed the transition to "normal reality," but when I did wake up I realized it had switched over and I found that the adult characters were so awkward, overly dramatic, and unlikable that it really wasn't much better. In fact, this film put me in such a bad mood that I called one of my friends afterwards and had an entire conversation in which I acted like an asshole before I realized what was bothering me.

After I figured out why I was in such a bad mood, but before I left the area, stars started to arrive for the "centerpiece" film, Breakfast on Pluto. I didn't get to see it, but apparently Cillian Murphy plays a young Irish man who moves to London in the 1960s to become "a fabulously attired transvestite cabaret chanteuse." Cillian, Liam Neeson, and Stephen Rhea were all there, along with director Neil Jordan. I snapped this picture of Cillian right before he entered the... well, it was a little more like a snake pit than a red carpet (especially considering that there was no carpet). If you've ever seen that SNL sketch where the photographers yell obnoxious things at the celebrities, it was a lot like that.

P.S. I later saw Breakfast on Pluto and I loved it!