Sunday, April 08, 2007

Philadelphia Film Festival 2007 - Night 2

Night 2 started out unceremoniously enough - I went to see Invisible Waves and quickly fell asleep. Equal parts the films fault, my own and the anti-hype man who announced at the begining that he hoped everyone had had some coffee. I kinda wrote the whole thing off after that and fell asleep less than 20 min in. Woke up with 40 or so left but dipped out early as my next film was sold out and starting soon so i wanted to get in line for a decent seat - and since i slept thru most of it...who cares!

The second viewing was for Scotish film Red Road. Road was 3rd at Cannes in 2006 (Jury Prize) and is the first in a trilogy to follow the Advance Party concept devised in-part by former Dogme 95 Danes Lars Von Trier and Lone Scherfig. The film has similarities in theme and plot to Cache though I consider the later's reach & execution superior. The lead is a woman who works for the security company/gov't agency in charge of monitoring all Glasgow's public security cameras. The secrets of he life are slowly revealed while she begins to obsess over a local man she follows first on camera then in real life until it all comes to a head in an totally unerotic but highly graphic sex scene. The film explores the omnipresence of big brother style camera in our lives (esp those of Britons) as well as other voyeristic aspects of its characters and their paranoia. The actors and first time director are to be congratulated for this fine piece of work.

Red Road rolls out in NY & LA next week.

The last film of the night was a based-on-a-true-sports-story called The Flying Scotsman. Johnny Lee Miller was on hand to intorduce his role as Scotish cyclist Graeme Obree. Its a typical film for the genre though the sport itself is not - this is velodrome cycling not Tour de France style. It's based on the athlete's autobiography about his struggles with depression, the highs of breaking world records and battles with cycling's governing body over improvements he tried to bring to the sport. Miller gives a solid performance as does Billy Boyd as his manager. Its good to see Miller in a good role in a decent film again after years of paying the bills with the likes of Dracula 2000, Mindhunters and Aeon Flux, and the acting is really what seperates any sports film or biopic from another as the arc is the same every time. Now is there a Jai-Alai story out there that must be told?

Miller's Q & A was mostly about what was and wasn't fact in the film, his prep for the roll and fielding questions about Obree. One guy had the nerve to ask Sick Boy himself if he had ever been in anything the guy may have seen - totally uncool. The film will get a limited roll out starting May 4th in 10 cities.

Due to Easter and Grindhouse i skipped Saturday so next update will be in a few days.


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