SIFF 2012, Batch #2

Dreams of a Life, UK

Almost three years after her death, Joyce Carol Vincent was discovered lying on the couch at home watching television. Nobody reported her missing or cared that she neglected to pay her electric bill. This documentary is a sad commentary on the disconnectedness of modern society.

Take This Waltz, Canada

Margot’s life hasn’t turned out as the fairytale every little girl was promised. She misses the excitement of falling in love, and can’t cope with the “gaps” in her comfortable marriage to a writer of chicken cookbooks. Enter artist, next door neighbor, and rickshaw driver Daniel with promises of witty repartee and erotic sexual encounters.

Rose, Poland

Before World War II, Masurian villages were controlled by Germany, but afterward they were lumped in with Poland. Both Rose and the villages are repeatedly raped over the course of this film by their Russian conquerors.

Starry Starry Night, Taiwan

A 13-year-old girl learns about the Dutch masters from her art collecting mother and jigsaw puzzles assembled by her family. But when a piece from Van Gogh’s Starry Night goes missing, Mei’s home life starts to fall apart. Folded paper animals and wooden elephants come to life in this charmingly serious fantasy about the families and friendship of two Chinese school children.

Coteau Rouge, Canada

Apparently not everyone in Quebec is of Western European descent, some are born of fish. And not all of Canada is a safe place. Anytime someone makes trouble for a French-Canadian family from Coteau Rouge, they feed their problem to a giant, man-eating sturgeon.

Cloudburst, Canada

Two old dikes and a male dancer road-trip to Canada to procure a wedding license. Along the way, there’s lots of tequila, swearing, and a near drowning or two. I learned from this film that OWL is short for Old Wise Lesbian, and that Olympia Dukakis has a real potty mouth.

SIFF 2012, Batch #1

The Intouchables, France

Affluent, paraplegic paragliding pilot seeks caregiver to neglect and insult him on a regular basis. Prefers ex-convicts or someone with a lengthy criminal record. Medical qualification and prior nursing experience strongly discouraged. Bottom line is, if you can score a doobie and outrun the French police in my Maserati, you’re hired.

Your Sister’s Sister, USA

It’s the one year anniversary of Jack’s brother’s death, but Jack’s not feeling very celebratory. After raining on some friends’ saintlike remembrance of his departed sibling, Iris suggests that he spend a few days alone in the San Juan islands reflecting on his life. Iris is Jack’s best friend, but he can’t sleep with her because she once dated his brother, so Jack sleeps with Iris’s lesbian sister Hannah instead, did I mention that Hannah is unstable and wants a baby?

Elena, Russia

With wealth comes privilege and choice. However, it also attracts the envy and desperation of those without. An aging nurse marries her rich, older patient. Both have children from previous marriages, but the man’s family is wealthy while the woman’s is more like a welfare case. The man is godless, the woman religious. There are cooling towers from a nuclear power plant in almost every scene!

My Sucky Teen Romance, USA

Still dressed in what appears to be a leather jacket from the 1950’s, Edward Cullen’s doppelganger stalks prepubescents at the local Holiday Inn’s annual sci-fi and fantasy convention. Do not go expecting a well-polished Hollywood film, but instead something shot by high school students with little or no budget over a very short period of time.

Bestiaire, Canada

72 minutes of watching animals in silence. Sometimes unsettling, sometimes humorous. Some people like to draw them, others like to watch them, and still others (taxidermists) like to stuff them. This film is part of the experimental track at the festival, be forewarned that you WILL be sitting for 72 minutes in silence staring at zoo animals without any dialogue or narration.

Polisse, France

The child protective unit of the Parisian police force deals with everything from self-confessing pedophiles to homeless mothers who can’t feed or shelter their children to shoot-outs at the local shopping mall. Perhaps that’s why the detectives’ home lives are so screwed up. The stories in this film are based on actual police investigations.