And We Out

April 8, 2009 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

I'm Going to Explode

Film festivals — particularly ones that aren’t in the upper echelon alongside Cannes, Toronto, etc. — are all about discovery. There’s always a handful or two of name product — films you’ve (possibly) already heard about, that stormed previous fests or are already on the theatrical release calendar. That leaves scores of obscurities, diamonds in the rough, needles in the haystack, whatever phrase you prefer, all waiting to be found.

That didn’t really happen this year, at least not for me. I saw a couple great films and a couple terrible ones. I even walked out once. But most of the 70+ films (!!) I saw fell into the big, fat, doughy middle: not uninteresting but too deeply flawed. I can’t tell y’all how many times a film started out promising only to fall apart somewhere around the third act. There were no shocking discoveries; most of my favorites this year were well-praised films that generally lived up to their respective hypes. Sita Sings the Blues, for one, is already near-legendary and turned out to in fact rule. And that’s great and I’m not complaining. But that’s just not the same as meeting a stranger and becoming instantly and insanely smitten.

Without further ado-ing, here’s my tastefully unranked PFF/CF Top Ten, which you can compare/contrast with the one I did when the fest itself was just beginning:

  • Don’t Look Down
  • Hunger
  • The Hurt Locker
  • I’m Going to Explode
  • Julia
  • Revanche
  • Sita Sings the Blues
  • Summer Hours
  • Tulpan
  • The Way We Get By

Bubblin’ under: Back Soon, The Brothers Bloom, Boy Interrupted, Embodiment of Evil, (500) Days of Summer, It’s Not me I Swear!, Not Quite Hollywood and Rumba. Oh, and what the hell, Tyson, too.

If you care to view the ballot results, they’re here, and I’m glad that none of my favorites wound up towards the bottom, as they sometimes do. Good job, Philadelphians, giving the highest rating to the Philadelphia-shot film about a down-on-his-luck boxer fighting against impossible odds. Fest awards here. And seriously, Jury Duty?

Thanks to everyone who worked the festival, which was far, far, far more organized than you’d expect something that, only two months, almost didn’t happen to be. Special shout-outs to TLA’s Matthew Ray for keeping me up to my ears in screeners and to the many abundantly wonderful volunteers, who were each of them crazily nice and friendly. And thanks to you, my dear readers, for reading. It’s been emotional.

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Okay, More Like Tomorrow

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