Not Only was the Website Ill: Starz Film Fest Coverage
The Donnybrook Writing Academy will be the unofficial wine-and-cheese-nose-in-the-air-azure-ichor headquarters for the 31st Starz Denver Film Festival. Film critic and toilet correspondent Fritz Godard reports:
I’m not sure if it was the opening night film or that I may have eaten my weight in pork products at the party following the film, but Friday morning I woke up in a stomach corroding vomit-producing state, which required me to sleep for 90% of the next 24 hours. Needless to say, I missed more than a few films I wanted to see, in particular “His Name was Jason,” screened with the first actor to play the much beloved Jason Voorhees. Other films I missed due to sickness were Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler,” the Russian film “Mermaid,” and Festival Artistic Director’s recommended “Moscow, Belgium.”
I knew I wasn’t ready to trust my bowels in the high society setting of a film festival, so I headed to the local megaplex to see 42 unique identifying location fonts and one clever use of subtitle coloring in “the Quantum of Solace.” The breakneck pace and the nanosecond cuts in action did nothing to help settle my stomach. I returned to bed crossing my fingers I’d be well enough to attend The Big Night Screening of Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Saltines, ginger ale and jello power ups were enough to fuel my trip to the Ellie Caukin’s Opera House. The film was a grand experience. “Slumdog Millionaire” can be as gritty as “City of God” while staying as innocent and sentimental as Danny Boyle’s “Millions.” The film is Boyle’s most endearing work to date, and thusly will probably be the film he is most remembered for.
Feeling better than ever, I began the day with a film that made Cannes’s heart skip a beat, “Waltz with Bashir.” This is a film a high school student could potentially watch in three different subjects in one semester. The film deals with psychology, history, and religion, blending them in beautiful rotoscope animation. The faint-of-heart need not view; despite being animated, the film is harsh viewing.
The beautiful film “Time to Die” from Polish director Dorota Kedzierzawaska film was interrupted by Denver-native child actor Wit Kaczanoski Jr., whose 28 seconds of screen time entitled him to talk the entire way through the film. In the Q&A after the film, I was once again reminded of the pure evil that child actors embody when the younger Wit Kazanoski constantly tried to upstage his more talented and insightful father by trying to answer every question with what an eleven-year-old would think was funny.
I followed the Polish thinking piece for some Nu French Sci-Fi/Horror of “Eden Log.” Franck Vestiel’s film has a bitter taste for corporations and pretty much any oil driven nation. The sci-fi metaphors aren’t as veiled as 2001, but the film sets a chilling mood and follows it through ‘til the bitter end. If you have ever wondered what a child of “The Descent” and “The Maxtrix” would look like if it was raised in France on nothing but J-Horror, the is the closest you’ll get to an answer.
The weekend held one more film for me, a documentary, Kim Reed’s “Prodigal Sons.” The film sounds simple enough; “high school star quarter back returns to twentieth reunion as a woman.” But Reed’s instincts and family wouldn’t let it be that simple. Kim’s adopted older brother, who happens to be the grandson, and near spitting image of Orson Wells, has competition issues with his then brother now sister. To top it off, a tragic car accident twenty years earlier has left him with a serious head trauma, which results in wild mood swings. The high school reunion quickly fades to sub-plot as the family tragedy slowly spirals out of control.
The big ticket item for this evening is the last screening of Denver filmmakers Chris Bagley & Kim Shively’s film on the legendary Wesley Willis in “Wesley Willis’s Joyrides” at 9:30.