Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Film Festival review # 1

On Saturday I saw three of the ten films I've chosen from the Auckland Film Festival. So far I haven't been disappointed.

I've given links for each one so I only need to add my comments.

The Cat Returns was sweet and funny. Haru, a gawky and klutzy teenager, begins to regret saving a grey cat who turns out to be the Crown Prince of the cat kingdom when cats start doing her favours a human doesn't regard as such. When she finds out the king intends to marry her to the prince, she goes to the Cat Business Bureau which is run by an extremely cool cat called Baron von Gikkingen (I think), a large bad-tempered white cat called Muta, and a crow. By the time everything is sorted out, Haru has been reassured that her love of cats has good consequences after all and has also learned to be herself. She's grown up a little, but I never have and this is only the first of six anime I'm seeing.

Kitchen Stories sounded much funnier and stranger than it was, which is in no way a criticism. It was a gentle and subtle exploration of the slow-growing relationship between Folke, a Swedish observer in a high chair (like a tennis umpire's) in the corner of taciturn Norwegian farmer Isak's kitchen. Folke is meant to observe and record Isak's movements without interacting with him; Isak does his best to be obstructive and also covertly observes Folke from a hole he drills in his bedroom floor above. The two men gradually get to know and like each other which is against the rules. Things are also complicated by Isak's friend who becomes jealous. This is a lovely, thoughtful, and ultimately moving story about two quirky and eccentric people I came to like a lot.

Bad Santa's profane language and sexual content will put many people off, but this is a wildly funny film. Drunken crook Willie does an annual stint as Santa assisted by his black dwarf side-kick as an elf with glued-on pointed ears. This is a cover for a heist which sets both of them up for the year. The elf hides in the store when it is closed and turns the alarms off, then lets Willie in to crack the safe while he acquires the items on his girlfriend's wish-list. On their latest job, a bargirl with a Santa fetish falls for Willie and a friendless boy called Thurman Merman attaches himself; at first Willie regards him as retarded. Thurman actually is quite intelligent but somewhat odd; I suspect him of slight autism. He has the most amazingly clear eyes I've ever seen which along with his golden curls and beautiful skin make him look like an overweight angel. Despite all the black humour and outright cynicism about the whole Santa thing (yay) this film does in fact acquire a heart by the end, which even contrives to be both happy and unsentimental.

Three very different films I very much enjoyed for very different reasons.

Tags: films
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