the ball whisk

April 7, 2008

Einar’s ball shaving, a Huber nearly dies and other Friday Night Highlights

Filed under: Film, Music, Scando — Tags: — groenefee @ 7:54 am

Following a very disappointing Thursday (we will speak no more of Dutch film!), Friday redeemed the WFF for us.

die brüder HuberWe began the afternoon ( a wonderful sunny one too) by screening Am Limit, the hyperbolic Docu-Action pic for die brüder Huber. In short, the film followed the bothers for one year (two Yosemite seasons) as they attempted the speed climbing record on El Capitan’s Nose. The focus was on the inter-brother dynamics and as all films of the “extreme” sport genres go, an intro for we uninitiated.

Right, so given that your author, patient reader, is seriously afraid of heights and has only climbed one small face successfully (#2: fierce bout of scissor-leg as soon as I had my first bump to go over…scratch-it…bring the pastrami sandwich and beer!), Am Limit was hard to watch. The filming brought me close enough to the experience that i regularly felt the sever tightening of my goodies while these brothers climbed along cliff edges. I hate that feeling. But oh what views from those vertiginous edges!. I also happen to be a sucker for pretty expanses (yes I like Turner and Friedrich) and Am Limit certainly delivered on the pretty.

What Am Limit also delivered on was the all too common in Surfing, BASE jumping, Climbing, Ultra Marathon films, was a series of checked out, stoned-stupid people reflecting on the ineffable. My god! how tiresome to hear someone with no ability to communicate expound on what can be summed up as “we try and find something meaningful in limits.” You want Limit? Read de Sade, Nietzsche or Bataille. You want the interpersonal dynamics of amazing but selfish MEN (yes no room for a vagina in this film boys!) and amazing views, Am Limit delivers.

3.5 out of 5

We ran to our next theater to settle in for our Icelandic double feature Children and Parents. We always expect a lot from Danish and Icelandic films because they always amaze us. Both films interlock themes and characters into a wonderful mural of hard and loving life in urban Iceland.

Shot in Black and White (all the better to feel the blood!) these films are so evenly balanced that I went from laughing to tearing up to being horrified to laughing (I should note however, that through this whole film festival I’ve been perplexed at the audience’s laughter at extreme violence. Beating one’s spouse seems funny to these crowds, Stalking is funny, but Rape wasn’t…I don’t understand the logic, but hey ought there be a logic of laughter? I simply feel out of touch with the others in the theater.).

These films are dense, though they don’t feel weighty. Like some of the best of Bergman, (not as pretty sadly) they convey a notion that the lives being viewed aren’t being directed or compressed for the film. I rarely get the feeling that I’m looking at both a full person and that they aren’t being shoe-horned into the frame; Bragasson manages this in these films. Einar’s character acts in a loathsome manner, yet he really comes across as sympathetic and real. Gísli Örn Garðarsson’s portrayal of Gardar was nothing short of phenomenal. The weight of having to play a dramatic counterpart to Karítas, a character who carries so much of our natural sympathies, would have drawn more than a few actors into an over-the-top pantomime. Instead both Gardar and Karítas feel measured and real.

The only character that feels marginal and underdeveloped is that of the abusive lover in Parents. He seems to appear at the behest of the plot, not because we should be interested in him.

We cannot leave these films without a discussion of the amazing music that they pack along. As all things, we enjoyed the work on children more than parents. Please check out Pétur Ben, dear reader. Wow good stuff! A bit broad on the genre-hopping, but when he focuses on craft you hear Nick Drake drip through with noises that weren’t available to Drake. Really solid stuff. The sound textures in Börn especially as Marinó rides the bus were spot-on.

Outstanding films!
Börn 5 of 5 (best of the films we saw this weekend)
Foreldrar 4.5 of 5


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