DWA AWarDs: 33rd Starz Denver Film Festival
The 33rd Denver International Film Festival recently wrapped-up. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen our correspondents kicking-ass with film coverage. Here, Fritz Godard and Antoine von Frankenstein wrap-up their covergae by giving-out some film fest related awards.
Starving Artist Award: Echotone.
This award is given to the most interesting look at the only two things that go together better than alcohol and nicotine: art and poverty. As seen in our Concerned Interview, Nathan Christ put together a great film looking at two things we love here at the Manor, music and Austin. The contrast between musicians working terrible jobs to be able to play at night is a perfect example of the starving artist. The scene that best sums up this award is when Belaire frontwoman explains the most she wants out of making music is to make only one double LP of their songs. She’s the anti-fame monster.
Happiest Place on Earth Award: Submarino
According to BBC News, scientists rank Denmark as the happiest country in the world. Thomas Vinterberg, the director behind the unsparing sibling drama Submarino, somehow slipped between the cracks. Vinterberg, exposes a bleak and deadened life in Denmark with the story of two brothers on the fringe of society, trying to reconnect with each other. You might think from the start this will be miserablist cinema but Vinterberg displays his restraint as a director – where others might sensationalize the drama, Submarino presents each character’s struggle in a very real way. We are not made to excuse the characters many faults, but we root for them because we watch as they try to break from a cycle of neglect and abuse in a society lauded for its quality of life. And there are happy moments, not joyous, but happy because you see the characters can steal an honest moment of release from their situations. This was my favorite film of the festival and I suggest seeing it for yourself. But be warned, the experience is like getting an Ashiatsu massage from our girls at the private Donnybrook spa – you take a pummeling when they stomp all over you with their little monkey feet, but afterwords you’ll feel relieved.
Can You Hear Me Laughing in the UK Award: The Drummond Will
This dark comedy from across the pond is an exercise in turning the screws in its characters. After brothers meet up at their father’s funeral in a small village, it turns out they have an unknown gift for accidentally killing the elderly. It’s hard to say which piles up faster the dead bodies or the laughs. Alan Butterworth gives us Yanks a good dark laugh and a look into village life that is completely foreign to the suburban sprawl of the states.
Guiltiest Pleasure Film: happythankyoumoreplease
Yes, the title is more than silly. Yes, it’s full of 2000′s independent film cliches. Yes, the writer/director/star is that one guy from How I met your Mother. Yes, the only reason I saw it was the film I wanted to see was sold out. There were so many obstacles this film had to over come for me to enjoy it, and some how it lept over every one. The story of three NYC couples trying to navigate through mid-twenties relationships felt more than familiar, but what was new about it was the way the film really examined these relationship. Sure the premise has been seen a thousand times before, but cliche is only the frame work to examine deeper emotions and relationships. I loved this movie despite the fact that I may have to give up my membership to the French New Wave fanclub after admitting it.
Most Prestigious Film: Letter to Elia
Let’s just take a moment here and reflect on how great this festival was. Here we have film directed by Martin Scorsese about Elia Kazan and it’s not Special Screening or followed by a party. That is just a testament to the great line-up the Film Center programed this year. This is a love letter from a master to a master. The film allows Scorsese to look at the meaningful moments in his life through the window of Kazan’s film. Great film to understand what it takes to be a director.
Magic Cyclops Award: Shocking Blue
For no other reason than the film beautifully depicts a Dutch boy and girl beguiled by love and the inevitable messy consequences of TEEN PREGNANCY, don’t do it. http://www.myspace.com/themilehighmadman
Film of the Festival: Littlerock
This film is what film festivals are all about. The film is about siblings from Japan who’ve gotten stuck in Littlerock, California. The film looks at quarter-life culture in a way that examines and studies emotions instead of just showcasing them to drive a plot. The film looks beautiful, the characters are interesting in a way that few films dare to even attempt, the film connects on every level and is nearly a perfect film. Seek this film out and see it as soon as possible.