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Author Topic: The Dollars trilogy + DYS sreenings  (Read 4670 times)
moviesceleton
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« on: April 21, 2010, 10:32:55 AM »

http://www.msfilmfestival.fi/page.php?p=1263
The Midnight Sun Film Festival will screen the Dollars trilogy and DYS in Sodankylä, Finland in mid-June. They talk about "restored versions" by Bologne film archive. I guess they are the same, longest, versions we now have on DVD. And with English audio, I assume. I sure hope they will include the "Scorsese restoration" of OUATITW, too. I was going do a Leone marathon, because it's been like two years since I last watched any of his films (!) but I think I can postpone it a couple of months Smiley

It's gonna be a hell of a festival, anyway. Five silent classics with live music: Erich von Stroheim's The Merry Widow, Chaplin's Easy Street, The Cure and The Rink plus Buster Keaton's The General! And naturally a shitload of contemporary director's presenting their work, including Pedro Costa, Kira Muratova, Pierre Étaix and Walter Salles. I'm also looking forward to Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro and It Might Get Loud featuring Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page. 

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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 01:56:56 AM »

Update: It seems that they'll show "only" FaFDM, GBU and DYS; no AFoD.

But look at that program! http://aikataulu.msfilmfestival.fi/ It's so full of movies I wanna see that it's ridiculous. Do I go to see The Big Heat or Of Time and City? A Short Film About Killing or The General? A Hard Days Night (you can sing along) or Rosso? Les statues meurent aussi/Le jetée doublebill or Certified Copy? Duck You Sucker or Shadows in Paradise? Chronique d'un été or three Chaplin shorts? The Red Shoes, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and West Side Story on big screen...

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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 03:50:21 AM »

sounds like a lot of fun Afro

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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 09:18:25 AM »

So where the hell is Sodankylä?

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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 09:58:18 AM »

So where the hell is Sodankylä?
It's in Lapland. A town of 9000 people in the middle of nowhere. And it hosts the coolest film festival on this globe.

http://maps.google.fi/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=fi&geocode=&q=sodankyl%C3%A4&sll=62.593341,27.575684&sspn=10.7222,39.506836&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Sodankyl%C3%A4&ll=67.415927,26.5979&spn=2.228395,9.876709&z=7

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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010, 03:55:48 PM »

Yikes! How do you get there? How far is it from your place? How far from Helsinki?

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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010, 04:44:41 PM »

Holy shit that is the middle of nowhere,  Afro

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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2010, 02:58:00 AM »

Yikes! How do you get there? How far is it from your place? How far from Helsinki?
It's approximately 600 kilometres from where I live currently. I drove there since taking a train/bus would have been more expensive. Guest directors from all over the world come there every year so it's not totally impossible to get there. The nearest city with an airport is Rovaniemi, 130 kilometres away. Busses go regularly. Surprisingly many airlines fly directly to Rovaniemi. Of course you can also fly to Helsinki and then from there to Rovaniemi (the distance is some 800 kilometres).

Here's a full report of my trip. It's got reviews of the Leone screenings but also a lot of other stuff so I'm not sure if this is going too off-topic. Moderators, just move the thread if you feel like it.

I've rated the movies that I could, others have just a short review. Also, the times and dates given do not follow your normal 24-hour day. My days started around 8-9 AM and closed around 2-5 AM the next morning so that's how I've written them here also. 1 AM on Wednesday for example actually means 1 AM on Thursday.

Wednesday June 16th
I started driving to Sodankylä 8.00 AM and was there around four o'clock. Checked myself in to my accommodation, a sleeping bag on the floor of a community center. It's not fancy at all but it's cheap, within reasonable distance from the festival area and it's got a shower. And I knew I wouldn't be sleeping much anyway, so the place didn't matter that much. I bought the tickets I had reserved (for the three silent screening with live music), had a beer and went to my first film of that festival:

6.00 PM
Shock Corridor (1963)
- 8/10
I liked it, very entertaining. The plot is rather straightforward but it's not important. What's important is the subconscious, fantasies, the fine line between sanity and insanity…

8.00 PM
Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)
Directed by the main guest director this year, Terrence Davies. Somebody said that it's as if a family album would have come to life, and that sums it up pretty well. It tells the story of a working class family in Liverpool in the 40s and 50s. Nostalgic but in a very honest way.

10.15 PM
Lebanon (2009) - 7.5/10
Winner of the Golden Lion is set completely inside an Israeli tank in the 1982 Lebanon war. Based on the director, Samuel Maoz's own experiences. It's pretty good but the shaky cam is so unoriginal. More impressive was to hear Maoz speak about his experiences after the film.

1.00 AM 
For A Few Dollars More (1965)
First of all I have to admit something: I dozed off a couple of times, between Manco joining Indio's gang and the arrival to Aqua Caliente. You have to forgive me, I was fucking tired after all the driving. Besides, the movie was with Italian audio. English subtitles were provided but not on the screen but projected on a separate board over the screen, not very convenient. The print was OK, not great. It had obviously been in a heavy use although it was a restored version. Big screen can be quite harsh on Techniscope: grain was clearly visible in some shots. Then again, the closeups were great. I remember noticing little details I hadn't noticed before especially in the dark scenes… The ending duel gave me goose pimples.

I hit the hay around 3.30 AM.

Thursday June 17th
I woke up 8.38 AM. Breakfast at a canteen and then lining for a interview with Vesa-Matti Loiri, a Finnish legend, actor, comedian and musician at 10 o'clock. These morning interviews or discussions hosted by the festival director, film critic and historian Peter von Bagh are very popular and not without a reason. In two hours
they really have tome to dig deep into a person's life and work. The discussions are not only very informative but also mostly quite entertaining.

1.00 PM
The Red Shoes (1948) - 9/10
The print wasn't pristine but the colors were fabulous. I was lucky that my first time of seeing this was on big screen. The movie is great but the ending is not.

3.30 PM
Of Time and the City (2008)
Davies' "documentary" about his hometown Liverpool. Constructed of archival footage accompanied by mostly classical music and Davies' voiceover. The voiceover seemed to be mostly poetry, quoted and Davies' own. The film is pretty interesting but has some dead moments. I found myself thinking about my own life and memories, just like Davies said he wanted it to be.

8.45 PM
The General (1926)
I remember finding this quite boring when I saw it for the first time maybe five years ago. But you know, big screen, audience of 800 and live music can really make wonders; it was a very entertaining adventure. Jazz music was an interesting idea and the Five Corners Quintet score started very promisingly but after a while it was clear that they were not going to accompany the film in the traditional silent movie way. It was the weakest live music to a silent film on the festival but it was OK.

10.45 PM
The Good, the bad and the Ugly (1966)
When the film started rolling I had a feeling "My whole life has been building up to this." I only hope that this would have been the first time I saw the movie, probably the impact would have been unbelievable. This print wasn't pristine either but much better than FaFDM. They showed the restored version, with the added scenes and English audio. This was the first time I noticed how different the voices in the added scenes are! But regardless of that, I was reminded what an adventure it is - really the best there is. The story just flows, every scene is - if not perfect at least unforgettable. There I was sitting for three hours on an uncomfortable seat and wasn't bored for a second. And the cemetery on big screen, Jesus  Christ!

Friday June 18th

10.00 AM
Discussion with Terence Davies. That guy is such a warm person, very gay (in every meaning of the word). He's so passionate that it would be hard to believe if I didn't see it with my own eyes. And he quotes poetry almost constantly, incomprehensibly  long poems. I see that his films are not very commercial but it's still a shame that he didn't do a film for eight years because he couldn't find the money. Five films in twenty years is not much. Now I regret I didn't go to talk to him, but the funny thing is that often you feel as if you actually had talked to the guests even when you haven't. Seeing their movies, hearing them talk after the screenings and at the morning discussions and just seeing them walking among the crowd creates a kind of illusion that you know them personally (shit, now I sound just a stalker).

1.00 PM
The Long Day Closes (1992)
A kind of sequel to Distant Voices, Still Lives but more dreamlike and it has some fantasy elements.

3.15 PM
Certified Copy (2010) - 8.5/10
A talky film about an encounter of a man and a woman. Comparison to Godard (at his best) is not farfetched. Juliette Binoche really deserved her prize at Cannes and William Shimell is equally great but naturally not nearly as beautiful to look at as Binoche. I really liked this movie but then there's an open ending which is pure cowardice. I was thinking "This is great but how in hell are they gonna wrap this up?"  Well, they didn't.

8.15 PM
The Merry Widow (1925)
Accompanied by Orchestra ad Camera Obscura conducted by Maud Nelisse. Now, this is how silent films should be accompanied! I've always thought Erich von Stroheim as a (almost too) serious director but there are also light moments in this melodrama. The story isn't hard to predict but the direction is mostly great. It's 137 minutes long and still not boring at all. There's a forced happy ending but I'm willing to buy it because I think the characters deserve it.

11.00 PM
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1965) 9+/10
Some of the audience was laughing at some of the cheesiest lines but I don't really mind them. If you're willing buy that all the lines are sung (totally absurd idea in the first place) then I think it's doesn't matter what they are singing. Yes, it's a bit corny when they are vowing eternal love but it's a fucking musical! I didn't remember that the scenes between the mom and daughter were so funny. The music is great but just a bit repetitive. Catherine Deneuve is gorgeous, even if the print had some scratches. The ending was less sad than I remembered.   

I slept for two hours and woke up at 3 AM to see:
Taulukauppiaat (2010) "The Painting Sellers" - 8.5/10
Winner of Cinéfondation series at Cannes. Follows three people who are driving around and selling paintings. The relationship of the artist and the 18-year-old boy who's driving their van is the key element. Well written, directed and acted. I've followed the director Juho Kuosmanen and he's gonna become a good director. I'm looking forward to his feature debut.
Before the Taulukauppiaat a Finnish short film called Erään hyönteisen tuho (Death of a Bug) was screened. Visually great but I couldn't see anything more than that in it.

Went back to sleep around five.

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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2010, 03:05:53 AM »

Saturday June 19th

10.00 AM
I Am Love (2009) - 7.5/10
Interesting story, beautifully shot, good actors (Tilda Swinton especially) plus a nice Vertigo reference. Unusually well done sex scenes, meaning that they actually have a significance. Too bad the ending reaches for too much. 

12.30 AM
Monsieour Verdoux (1947)
It worked better as a comedy than I remembered, no doubt thanks to the audience. David Robinson hold a masterclass after the movie. I could have listened to him for forever.

3.30 PM
Duck, You Sucker (1971)
This was the best print of the Leones that were shown. Ironically, it's the weakest film. At its worst, it's like a poor Leone (and Morricone) copy. Many scenes are just way too long. And the flashbacks, they are cheesy and bad. The whole damn audience was laughing during the last flashback, including myself. There's also a lot of things that work, a lot of comedic scenes for example (Juan got an applause when the crowd carried him away after he had freed them) but in the end it's not a masterpiece, merely a good one.

7.00 PM
Three Chaplin two-reelers accompanied by great piano music by Maud Nelisse. Introduced by David Robinson.
Easy Street (1917) - 8/10
Has the best story of the bunch, introducing social commentary to Chaplin's work.

The Cure (1917) - 9/10
The funniest one. Also chronologically the last one, and thus the most mature and best.

The Rink (1916) - 7/10
The simplest one. Build mostly around slapstick. It's remarkable how much Chaplin developed as a filmmaker during the four or five months within which all of these three films were made.

9.00 PM
West Side Story (1961) - 7.5/10
It's pretty good but at 152 minutes just too long. The print wasn't good, the worst at the whole festival.

11.30 PM
Tetro (2009)
The latest from Francis Ford Coppola. And it's great! Almost as great as his classics, and talking about The Godfather one and two here. I'm talking about Apocalypse Now. It feels like very personal yet very easy to relate to. The B&W photography is just gorgeous. The characters are interesting and the actors topnotch, you'd just want hang out with them forever. In short, one of the best films at the festival (well, GBU was there) and definitely one of the best films of last decade.

2.00 AM
Jos rakastat (2010) "If You Love" 
This is a Finnish musical filled with popular songs. They showed a "Sing Along" version with lyrics onscreen.  At first I was wondering what the hell it was doing at a festival known for classics and the best of contemporary art house cinema but actually it fitted perfectly in the general atmosphere of craziness. The movie itself is nothing special, bad actually. But the situation made the screening one of the most memorable I've ever attended. Picture this: Two o'clock in the morning, last night of the festival, everybody's seen a shitload of movies and had fun and now it's coming near the end. Everybody (it wasn't sold out but maybe half full, about 350 people) is a bit tipsy, just perfectly. And then starts rolling this silly little musical, filled with songs you know by heart (you wanted it or not). Everybody sang, everybody laughed. I heard more than one bottle of wine being opened. In the row behind me there was a group of people that were more than just a bit tipsy and their stupid comments were hilarious. The director left the screening crying with joy.

4.00 AM
It Might Get Loud (2008)
It was OK, but not as good as I was expecting. There should have been more footage from the meeting between the three guitar heroes.

That night I got three hours of sleep.

Sunday June 20th


10.00 AM
Discussion with David Robinson, British film critic and historian who has written the Bible on Charlie Chaplin. Very nice person yet with an ironic sense of humor. Too bad they had only a little over an hour and then he had to leave for his plane. He called the Midnight Sun Film Festival the second best film festival in the world, right after the Pordenone silent film festival which is directed by himself.

1.00 PM
Kohtaamisia (2009) "Heartbeats"  - 8/10
Episode movie where all scenes are shot with one take. That isn't just a trick, it really creates unique moments.

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