June 2nd, 2008

hot buttered popcorn

SIFF Day 10

Secret Festival #2 ****
This one was a repeat of a previous secret festival. Last time it screened I was not yet a secret festival pass holder. However, it was fairly well known that this film screened at secret. Back in the 1990's (I think) it was revealed in a Stranger article written by film critic, Andy Spletzer. For a time he was barred from the secret festival for his transgression. Currently he's a SIFF programmer. So, obviously he's been forgiven.

This is a notorious movie that has been banned from legal screenings. It is easily available on the internets. Pretty much anyone who wants to see it has already seen it. It was nice to see a better quality copy (from the filmmaker himself) and on the big screen. So, it was cool. I don't know if it was worth missing Kung Fu Panda for it, though.

The Saga of Anatahan (Japan) 1953 ***1/2
Rarely seen film directed by Josef von Sternberg. SIFF screened a copy obtained from the Library of Congress. It chronicles the true incident of Japanese sailors who were shipwrecked on the island of Anatahan in 1944. They remained on the island for 7 years completely unaware that WWII was over. Filmed in Japanese with a Japanese cast and crew and without subtitles. The story is told through annoying voiceover narration that evokes (bad) memories of Plan 9 From Outerspace.

Gorgeous black and white cinematography and the fact that it is a curiosity more than anything else make it watchable.

Ben X (Belgium/Netherlands) 2007 ****
A young man with Asperger syndrome is tormented at school. He gets even. It's a revenge film with a message. I actually enjoyed it even if it was a bit heavy handed there at the end.

Total Movies seen: 43

*= Unclean, unclean
**= Crap, but doesn't make your eyes bleed
***= Watchable to good
****= Great
*****= Masterpiece/Classic