International Filmfestival Rotterdam

12.59, February 5, 2006

A very short recap on the festival.
Haven't seen as many films as i planned, but i don't mind. I know i have missed a couple of great ones, but i don't mind either. On the whole, it was a pleasure to walk around and talk to people, some of which i haven't seen for years.

My two top films are 13 (Tzameti) and Caché, with an honorable mention for the Pervert's Guide to Cinema, which makes great television.

Gotta get ready for London. Hopefully tomorrow i'll post a report on the gig, pictures and all. Provided ofcourse i'm in a coherent state after an allnighter. Ouch...

22.30 - February 4, Venster 2

Taiwan Black movies / Lady Avenger

A documentary on the short period 79-83 Taiwan black movies were popular,in Taiwan anyway. Followed by a video of the single copy left from Lady Avenger. A redefinition of pulp and trash. After the first murder we left, you could sort of predict where it was going to end. Besides, we were kinda thirsty...

22.00 - February 3, Pathe 1 (surprise film)

District - Áron Gauder site

Standard narrative. A couple of nice jokes, a couple of nice effects. The mixed drawing 3D style was ok, wondered what software was used to generate it. Not really my kinda film.

19.15 - February 3, Luxor

A little trip to heaven - Baltasar Kormákur

A faintly interesting whodunnit type movie about a framed death and a life-insurance trick.

16.15 - February 3, Pathe 6

Running Stumbled - John Maringouin iffr

A video report of a mother and father living in New Orleans popping pills like there is no tomorrow.

21.07, February 2, 2006

Taking the evening off. I'm really tired, and i dont wanna completely drain myself. Have an exciting sunday evening ahead going to London for just a night to see what might be a 20 minute set. I do hope Double G & the Traitorous 3 have rehearsed a bit more now so they play more songs than the last gig! I sorta need to pull myself away from the festival now, catch my breath a bit. Tomorrow evening 2 films, think i'm gonna skip the one i hd planned for midday. Then a shift saturday morning and the closing films, with maybe a drink afterwards (i do need to spend all my 50-eurocent-ticket beers!) - like i have had many drinks afterwards the past days. And maybe, from now on, i might start getting a wee bit nervous. Yeah. Really!

16.15 - February 2, Pathe 4

The Great Yokai War - Miike Takeshi

A japanese style Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings quotes from said films liberally. Liked the little boy who played the lead. Japanese yokai spirits makes a nice change from orcs and elfs. Enjoyed it, but do prefer the originals.

13.00 - February 2, Pathe 4

Walking on the wild side - Han Jie

Pleasant refreshing messy Chinese drama set in a rural/industrial mining area. Bit of a wild west area, so it seems. Lots of booze, hookers, violence, suburban flats, beds without matresses and disco.

22.00 - February 1, Luxor

Delicate crime - Beto Brant

During this film my mind wandered of to the scritti gig i'll be going to this sunday in London, fastly approaching! I saw some painting, an asshole theatre critic, a one-legged girl. One good thing about it, when you think it ends, it actually does! Luckily.

19.00 - February 1, Pathe 1

Caché - Michael Haneke

I do count Hanek as a director i should pay attention to. Ever since i had the draining experience of watching Der Siebente Kontinent, i had a love/hate relationship with his films. I love his shots, his intelligence, his observant detached look. I hate the content. Not everyone dies in Caché, i'm glad to report. I'm still not sure what the truth is behind it all, but i doubt it is the main thing. Its guilt, retribution. Please, dear audience, try to live a honorable live, make amends, admit your sins, remorse, pay your debts, keep your conscience clear. Else...

16.15 - February 1, Pathe 2

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema Part 1 & 2 - Sophie Fiennes iffr

Wonderful television. My first encounter with Zizek, whose name i came across before, but never really read anything from him. This film made me wanna check it out. My world wasn't turned over by the insights, but made me look differently at familiar films like Blue Velvet, the Matrix, Groucho Brothers. Loved watching Zizek telling his thoughts sitting on a toilet.

13.30 - February 1, Pathe 2

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes - Quay brothers

OK, i wont mince words.

Pompous esthetic crap.

At least the ten minutes i witnessed before i fled from the theatre...

11.55, February 1, 2006

Oh oh, i nearly made it. Were it not for the tearing in two of the contactlens in my eye. Nothing serious, they are dailies, but i needed to sit down patiently and get the two parts out. Decided to stay home the first film, do some shopping and listen to music instead. Think i'm gonna do some ironing and cleaning, have some badly needed order in my house.

2.44, February 1, 2006

A short inbetween recap of this filmfestival. I am just having a ball! It was three (four?) years ago i worked at the filmfestival, and then i was kinda disappointed. I expected to much. It has grown so much over the past fifteen years, its unrecognizable. It does make a huge difference if the volunteer-group at the boxoffice is 50 people or 250 people. This year, not expecting the closeness and shared stress, i simply enjoyed the contact with the people i worked with and the visitors. I really really really do love this festival. The constant dipping into another world, the walking from cinema to cinema, the meeting woth other people, getting a quick bite and each going its own way again. It is still very much Rotterdam at its best.

The next three days i won't have any shifts at the box office. I already have my days filled with films. Yeah, the fever caught me. I want more! I will try to get the first film i got planned for tomorrow, Something like happiness at 10.15. I can just slowly wake up in the cinema. Hope i'll make it.

22.00 - January 31, Luxor

Lonesome Jim - Steve Buscemi

Jim (Casey Affleck) plays a complete jerk who almost drives his brother to suicide and brings his darling of a mother almost to tears by telling her she probably shouldn't have had children. It is at times hilarious. The sugarsweet ending did diminish the otherwise quite pleasant film. At least, i thought so. I had a short discussion with Tonio afterwards. I still feel a bit surprised by the sudden amendment by Jim, but it didn't really affect the film that much. I gave it a three, but maybe i should have given it a four.

13.00 - January 31, Pathe 1

Citizen dog - Wisit Sasanatieng

Pod goes to Bangkok. His grandma warns him if he gets a job in Bangkok, he will grow a tail. Pod gets a job in Bangkok. He doesn't grow a tail. Pod falls in love with Jin. Jin has a book she cannot read. Pod is a sardine tinner-man. Pod is a security man. Jin is a cleaning woman. Pod meats Yod. Yod meats Muay on the bus. Jin becomes an activist and builds a mountain of plastic bottles. Pod is a taxidriver. Pod meets Mam, an 8-year old girl with a talking smoking teddybear. Mam thinks she's 22 years old. Mam plays shooting games in the arcade. Jin goes away. Pod goes away. Pod comes back. Jin comes back. They meet again. Jin falls in love with Pod. They marry. Pod grows a tail.

Colourful Thai kitsch with song and dance. Nice!

10.30 - January 31, Venster 1

13 (Tzameti) - Géla Babluani

My first 5 star film this filmfestival! I didn't expect a black&white french film to give such a punch. A young roofmender picks up an envelope with instructions to get on a train and into an hotel. I won't say anything else, it would spoil it for you. If you have the chance tosee this film, go! Highly recommended.

12.15 - January 30, Cinerama 7

Gucci crackheads battle nihilism - Molly Lynch

A lighthearted documentary on the downfall of a apparently bright and articulate San Fransisco woman, who observes and comments everything around her but can't find a reason to make an effort. I wonder what became of her.

22.15 - January 29, Pathe 4

Mary - Abel Ferrara

On the whole i do like Ferrara's films. Driller Killer is a classic, and i remember being intrigued and shocked by Snake eyes. He sure knows how to make beautiful pictures, but to me this film stranded in a fragmentary confusing amalgam which hinted at sin and pride and love and trust and betrayal. But not really getting there.

19.00 - January 29, Pathe 1

Lunacy - Jan Svankmajer

I really liked this film. And that's saying much, because it's not my kind of film. The tale of a gullable young man entrapped by a insane, blasphemous, perverted old marquis who likes his feet being washed by his tongueless old servant. The gullable young man ofcourse falls in love with the lovely young nurse from the sanatorium, who turns out not to be as lovely as she looks. A fairytale with grim accents, interspersed with animated meat. It never became clear what the 13th treatment / punishment is. Castration?

Note to self: watch some Terry Gilliam films. Me like him!

19.45 - January 27, Luxor

Alex - José Alcala

Hmm, not sure about this one. Alex, the main character, is not the most likable person. Her house is a mess. Her life is a mess. Warming up old coffee in the microwave, evil. But she does try to make things better. And there is a subtle happy ending of sorts.

Oh yeah, and lots of sex too!

15.15 - January 27, Pathe 1

Nine emotions - Santosh Sivan iffr

Confession: i dozed off halfway through the film. The beginning was promising, a lovely young indian girl, editing was fast and humorous with some song and dance and women in sari's on scooters. But it turned out a bit too hysterical for my taste.

13.00 - January 27, Pathe 4

Ahlaam, Mohamed Al-Daradji iffr

It is really hard to comment objectively on a film made in Baghdad, 2004. I can not imagine the difficulty of making this film. As stated in the credits, one of the people involved in making this film was kidnapped and murdered while filming took place.
Patients of a psychiatric hospital wander the streets of Baghdad just after the bombing in 2003. Also told are the events leading up to their hospitalization. The film itself doesn't take an absolute position on either Saddam or the US bombing, but it leans towards criticism of Saddam. Understandable when you realize the director fled from Iraq in 1995. But politics is not the main subject, its the victims of either side which are central to the story.
This is a film in which you feel the need to make it. It's not a brilliant film, but in this case, that seems futile.

10.45 - January 27, Pathe 6

Tod und Teufel - Stephen Dwoskin

I did wanna include at least one of Dwoskin's films, 'Filmmaker in focus'. Intrigued by the subscription 'voyeurism, intimacy, eroticism, subject-object relationships, and duration'. I like the patient camera. It gives generous time to the actors (?) / people. Watching this film in the morning helped too, i could slowly wake and just let it wash over me. In the end, its not my favourite pasttime. I might go and check out Obllivion, his newest film, just to see what changed over the past thirty years.

12.00 - January 26, Venster 1, Shorts, As long as it takes


How not to make friends with lobster.

12.00 - January 26, Venster 1, Shorts, As long as it takes

Angel Dust

Don't go seeing this one when you're about to get into bed!!!

12.00 - January 26, Venster 1, Shorts, As long as it takes

Daddy's Vacation

Going back into the womb japanese fantasy. Liked the nurses!

12.00 - January 26, Venster 1, Shorts, As long as it takes


How does someone interpretate the world when you got a brain / visual disfunction?

Cindy, the Doll is Mine

The photographer makes pictures of herself. While watching i was reminded of early Cindy Sherman's work, who just happened to have helped with the making of the film. Even though i liked it, the subject matter was a bit stale. Maybe because i recognize so much in it, not sure.

12.00 - January 26, Venster 1, Shorts, As long as it takes

The Boy Who Was Dubbed

Imagine you got the deeply traumatizing psychological problem that you speak with a voice not you're own...

12.00 - January 26, Venster 1, Shorts, As long as it takes

La guerra

Impressive use of narrative techniques, which kept you guessing throughout the whole 8 minutes. A deeply tragic end. Yeah, there was a tear...
This short, grainy film silenced the whole theatre. Well deserved nomination for the Prix UIP Rotterdam.

12.00 - January 26, Venster 1, Shorts, As long as it takes

Look for me

Fun things to do when you're invisible. Nicely drawn animation, short and to the point.

22.00 - January 26, Pathe 4, Volunteers Surprise Film

Yaji and Kita - The Midnight Pilgrims (Mayonaka no Yaji-san Kita-san)

Life is short. But apparently there is a way around it. The surprise film this evening was part of the White Light program, 'contemporary and new ‘drugs driven’ films'. Enough reason to play with cinematic structure and conventions, succesfully even at times. The film would benefit from some serious editing, or just simply cutting. But if you wanna see japanese men kiss, rap, grow mushrooms, ride elephants and escape from the underworld from beneath the ass of one's killed farting wife, this one's for you!

13.32 Monday January 23

Yay, got a ticket for Double G & the Traitorous 3! Also been working on my schedule for the IFFR. After my shift yesterday at the phonelines, i already know a lot of films are sold out. So i might go for a surprise festival, just see whats coming my way. New schedule uploaded. As ever, subject to change.

15.30 Friday January 20

Oh my, just heard Double G & the Traitorous 3 (that is Scritti Politti's Green Gartside for the uninformed) will play live on sunday, February 5 in London, The Luminaire, Kilburn!

Puzzling my [offline]schedule for the Rotterdam Filmfestival together. With the generous help of PHPiCalendar!

I'll be updating this page over the next two weeks.