Saturday, July 2, 2011

Karlovy Vary Film Festival: Day 2 Impressions

Unfortunately, due to being literally 5 people too far back in line, I was unable to attend the KVIFF showing of The Skin I Live In, one of my most anticipated of the year. I was, however, able to attend three films today, even though one of them I'd seen three weeks prior. Condensed thoughts on the viewings:

Day 2: Impressions

The Tree of Life dir. Terrence Malick: Apparently I got more out of my first viewing of Malick's cosmic opus the first time around than I realized, because this second watch did little to change my opinion. Not that I'm complaining, seeing as I gave the film an "A-" in my original review. The most extreme "change" that I felt may have been in the film's last 20 minutes, which somehow seemed less abstract/obstuse than before, even though I still can't give you an explanation as to what it meant to me. All this viewing did was confirm that this is one challenging, drop-dead gorgeous work of art, with only a handful of tiny stumbles.

Grade: A-

Hanezu dir. Naomi Kawase: The shortest film I saw today (at 90 minutes), Hanezu still managed to feel longer than Tree and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia combined. I honestly can't remember the last time I lost interest in a film so quickly. And despite the script's attempts to portray a couple's relationship in decay, Kawase ends up presenting a film where literally nothing of importance happens. It's one thing for a film to be bad. Bad films can still be interesting failures. Where Hanezu goes wrong is that it's both bad and excruciatingly boring and empty. And in the world of cinema, that's as close to a mortal sin as you can get.

Grade: D

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan: The latest film from Nuri Ceylan, which tied for 2nd Place at Cannes this year, almost feels like two films. The first, which lasts for an hour and a half (maybe a little more), is a slow-burning, quietly compelling, and occasionally mesmerizing crime procedural. Unfortunately, a second movie, lasting only a little over an hour, comes in and mucks up everything, barring a handful of well executed scenes. Like so many movies of its kind, Anatolia's pacing wouldn't be a problem, if it weren't for the film's overlong run time. As a 90 or 100 minute film, this could have been an interesting and compelling take on the crime genre. Instead, it veers off course and overburdens itself with story and character shifts.

Grade: B-

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