WFF: My Day 4, Day 8 of the festival (Friday, 17th October)

Friday was a busy day (4 films), but a good one - no major disappointments :)


Impressions In Short
Very professionally made documentary. Some excellent interviews.

Some Details
It’s a very well-made documentary. Mainly it consists of interviews with people who were at one time or other involved with government policies to do with keeping certain information classified. There are some very beautiful and striking visuals to fill in between the interviews and very good soundtrack too.
The film is quite balanced. While it does lean towards a statement of “there should be less secrecy”, it gives a whole lot of arguments for why secrecy is important too. It’s a great debate.
One of the better films I’ve seen during this festival I think.

Absolutely. As long as you’re at least mildly interested in the subject matter I think you’ll enjoy it.


Impressions In Short
I like Nathan Lopez *grin* And I think I’m a fan of Coco Martin now too *grin*

Some Details
I found the camerawork a bit annoying although in the end I got used to it. Aesthetically it was actually very well done, it was just that it was a bit difficult to follow. It was a very nervous kind of camera, one that moved constantly and often didn’t show people’s faces because it would show them from the back or move too fast for you to catch a good look of them. Probably this was a bigger problem for me than it would be for say a Filipino person watching because it took me longer to memorize the faces. So for about half the film I was a bit confused about whether I was watching the same character or a different one :]
The story is intentionally quite fragmented. It switches protagonists as it goes along. It took me a long while to realize this though because of the aforementioned camerawork problem ;) Once I did the film watched much better lol
Nathan Lopez (who was of course a very important reason in me wanting to see the film ;-P ) doesn’t appear properly until very far into the film because he’s the last character to become the protagonist. This was very frustrating as I almost started to believe that he must be there on the screen and I’m not recognizing him lol He now looks quite a bit older than in The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, although he’s still pretty young. At the moment he’s got some fur on his face that you can’t quite call a moustache and some fairly obvious acne which even got a special mention in the film (”damn pimples” he curses while looking in the mirror).
He gets to be the central character in one of the funniest scenes of the film. He’s got a group of boys in his room at home and they’re all dressing up - putting on nice shirts and trousers. He’s annoyed with them being so noisy and smelly and as his concentration wavers he zips his fly in a way that causes harm to his privates… He makes a huge scene and all the 5 or so boys in the room start trying to help him unzip.
He also gets a pretty dramatic scene in this when the police roughs him up rather seriously. Anyway, it was fun seeing him, it’s quite a different part.
I’ve also got a new Filipino actor to gush over, he’s called Coco Martin *grin*

I wouldn’t want to dissuade anybody from seeing this, but I think most people wouldn’t like it that much. It’s fun if you know some of the actors, are interested in DV filmmaking or want to get to know more about Filipino cinema and culture. Otherwise I kind of doubt this film is worth your time.

The Day After Peace

Impressions In Short
The only reason I wanted to see this was to see some footage from Afghanistan with Afghanis talking about their situation. While I got that, I got way more than I thought I would! It’s a very inspiring film and of all the films I saw at the festival it’s definitely the one that had the biggest impact on me.

Some Details
When I heard this film was about Peace Day I thought there was a high possibility of it being boring propaganda. I guess in a way it *is* propaganda, but not at all boring ;)
The wonderful thing about this film and why it works so well I think is that it talks not just of the successes of peace day, but about its many failures too. As Jeremy Gilley states at the beginning of the film, he decided to make a film about trying to establish a peace day - a day of global cease fire and if it didn’t work then he would make a pessimistic film about how the world doesn’t want to change. And that’s the attitude that I think really made this film into what it is.
The end result is a film that is very inspiring and that (fortunately) shows that change is possible even if it takes a lot of effort and many years to make anything happen. I’m certainly going to try to support the efforts of Peace One Day on the next Peace Day (21st of September) in some manner even if what I do is small (it might even just be a blog post, but that’ll be something too ;-P).
As for the reason I wanted to see it (Afghanis talking about their situation) - there weren’t that many interviews, but there were some really great clips. Afghanistan is apparently one of the most optimistic countries in the world and that positive energy was obvious in the film. There was a particularly wonderful conversation with an English-speaking lady - I think she was in her late forties or fifties. They told her about this idea to have a cease fire in Afghanistan for one day during which they would immunize children against polio and asked her whether she thought this was too big a thought. She answered simply “for me nothing is big”. She continued with saying that when she was young she fought the Soviet Union and many said it was useless and stupid to do it, but she said “I still exist and the Soviet Union doesn’t”.
Of course not everyone could afford to be quite that optimistic, but it was still amazing to hear them speaking. They had a clip of a 12 year old girl. She was questioned about her current situation. She told them about how her father had been run over by a tank and both his legs were broken. He could no longer work the way he used to and they didn’t have enough income to support themselves. She said it simply and calmly. Eventually she broke down, but there was no hysteria about it. Tears came to her eyes. She wiped them and just said “that’s enough”. She wasn’t going to talk any more about it.
I guess that’s what I’m going to take from this film as far as Afghanistan is concerned - Afghanis are very strong people, both in their optimism and in their sorrow.
Oh, and if you’re wondering whether they managed to get a cease fire in Afghanistan - they did. They got a letter from the Taliban stating nobody would attack or kidnap the humanitarian teams sent to immunize children on the 21st of September. Last year this was just within a certain region - they immunized 1.7mln children. This year it was even better - 8mln children all around Afghanistan. The day has apparently institutionalized itself in Afghanistan now, so they can expect good results in the future too.

As far as I’m concerned everybody should see this film and I’m not kidding. It’s kind of like when you go to the Auschwitz museum. When you come out you think everybody should see this. This is that sort of a film, only unlike most times when one feels like this, this film is optimistic!
So please give it go if you have the opportunity :) Even if the message doesn’t inspire you as much as it did me, it’s just simply a very well-made film. It watches like a well-crafted feature film - not all that common with documentaries.
Btw, I may have a copy of it on DVD in some time as my mum wants to see it and is thinking of possibly showing it to her students at school. So if anyone would like to follow my recommendation I expect you’ll be able to borrow the DVD in a month or two :)


Impressions In Short
Kind of interesting and beautiful, but a little too cold.

Some Details
It’s a well-made film with an interesting premise, but… I guess it’s the Michael Winterbottom curse or something. For some reason whenever I see one of his films it seems like everything’s in place and yet on some level the emotion seems to be missing.
Colin Firth was kind of good and yet also it seemed like something vital was missing. The same was true of the rest of the cast. All of them put in good performances and yet…

I sort of recommend it, but not quite ;)

Leave a comment