In my last post I talked about some films that were shown erly on in the festival with some press showings on the day before the opening. Now the festival has started to get into some swing and there is rather a lot to see and much too much that has been impossible to see. So far I have been to few viewings of the Russian films at the festival which I’ll write about on my blog devoted to Russian film However, there have been a few very fine films that I’ve managed to watch.
The lifetime award to Costa-Gavras has meant that there is a full retrospective of his films. This was introduced by a viewing of his new film on financial capitalism entitled succintly Capital. It is a superbly made film and a powerful denunciation of the system of finance capitalism in much the same way that his earlier films were fine denunciations of other aspects of political reality in former times. Costa Gavras still seems to be one of the political film-makers par excellence and executes his films with considerable skill. Yet somehow this latest film didn’t seem to reach the heights of some of his other films. A viewing of his film Z yesterday seemed to reach some higher pinnacles but then, of course, the scriptwriter there was none other than Jorge Semprun.
One of the most surprsingly original and difficult to describe films was Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo. Rather difficult to describe in any detail (just as the Vian novel from which it was adapted is), its descent from light hearted fantasy into darkness, death and doom was superbly executed. I’m not a rom-com fan but this “rom-com haunted by death” is certainly something else. If only Moscow had opened with such a film (as Karlovy Vary has decided to do) instead of the Brad Pitt zombie flop then it would have recovered some of its reputation. But then the Moscow film festival would need some reorganisation to prevent these terrible opening choices.
The other great delight on Day 2 of the festival was a showing of Bertolucci’s Il Sosia (Partner). Loosely based on a Dostoyevsky novel – The Double- the performance of Pierre Clementi as a man with a double identity is entrancing.
Another Italian offering Il Rosso e il blu (The Red and the Blue) is a fine entry but the kind of decently made, well-acted (especially by Roberto Herlitzka) film that makes one regret that one hadn’t run off to a more exoteric film screening. Giuseppe Piccioni’s school comedy is worthy but is certainly not worthy enough in the light of Italy’s cinematic history.
Films that were shown (but I have regretfully missed the first screening of) were Ursula Meier’s L’enfant d’en haut (Sister). Ursula Meier is a member of the Moscow Jury and is having a mini-retrospective devoted to her films. George Sluizer’s Dark Blood had to be stolen from an insurance company who wanted to destroy the film stock. Fortunately Sluizer managed to make a film that has been highly praised (I hope to watch it at a second showing). Fernando Trueba’s El artista y la modelo (The Artist and the Model) was another film I had to forego as well as othe films in the Bertolucci and Balabanov retrospectives.
As for Day 3(yesterdays films) I’ll be posting a blog as soon as I can.