Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Festival Day 3

Day 1
Day 2

Tuesday 4/8

California Dreamin'
aka: Nesfarsit
Romania 2007, 155 min

This is one of those things you rarely see, an epic Romanian culture clash comedy staring… Armand Assante? Set in 1999 during the war in the Balkans, a train with supply equipment and a US Marine detachment bound for Kosovo is held up in a rural Romanian village due to a local strongman who runs the rail station. Over 5 days that it takes for their papers to arrive, all the forces at work in the village erupt and things will never be the same. The mayor sees this as an opportunity to attract commerce and investment and decides to re celebrated the village anniversary that was held the previous month. The station manager’s daughter sees this as a way to escape her uninteresting surroundings so she gets a high school outcast to teach her English. The marines see a lot of village girls. The station manager sees a chance to get back at the Americans for not coming to his childhood rescue in WWII and the captain (Assante) sees red.

The film is a critique of US policy in Eastern Europe from WWII thru the end of the century from the lack of support for Soviet Block countries to NATO bombings in the former Yugoslavia. The final climax of the film serves as an echo of the Prague Spring of ’68. But there is also the mystical realism that is common is many films from the region that serve to ground the film in the fantastic characters and the strange events that are sometimes a part of life. The film’s director Cristian Nemescu was killed in a car crash during post production and this is the final edit he did before his passing. While a powerful tribute, there is some fat that could be cut from the 2.5 hr print and a lot of ADR work that needs to be done to make this a finished product.


The Sperm
aka: Asujaak
Thailand 2007, 93 min

This is everything The Host should have been: a fun, campy, creature flick that actually holds your attention for the entire film. Our hero is a Thai 20 something in a band who has a huge crush on a pin up girl and dreams about her daily. When he finally meets her he blurts out something a little to forward… not realizing this is reality & he’s live of national TV. As he runs off red faced in a downpour he spies a poster of her in an alley and relieves his frustration. His little swimmers join the rain water and pass by some experimental lasers going haywire. The next thing you know they are airborne and impregnating the Bangkok’s women. The spawn are all horny kids with the same face who’s ultimate goal is to get off and send millions more flighted spermies off on a new adventure. There is a mad scientist with a hot daughter and her clan of inflatable ninjas who help our hero, his band and the pin-up girl defeat the JO juniors as well an a 50 foot version of himself that was born by a very old woman… and thus mutated.

The film never takes itself seriously and while the special FX leave much to be desired they fit the tone of this low budget piece perfectly. The contractions that are used are modified garbage (painted water bottle ray gun anyone?) but the characters are funny and you enjoy spending time with them. That’s really all you can ask for in the genre… love to see an MST3K take on this though.


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