Larry Glickman's 1998 SIFF  Reviews

Larry Glickman is a major artfilm fan.  I rarely agree with him but maybe you will.

Reviews 1-19: 5/22/98

The more stars, the more I recommend the film.

***1. Buffalo 66 - USA - Vincent Gallo acts, writes and directs. His


is Christina Ricci, who is wonderful. This is a superb chamber piece

in the

style of Jarmusch and Kaurismaki. Angelica Huston and Ben Gazzara play

the mother and father in a comic vein. The movie has good music. The

opening scene has the hero having to pee and not finding a place to do


after his release from prison. Other notable scenes are eating tripe,


father killing the little boy’s puppy, the parents looking for the one



2. Post Coitum - France - Madame Bovary meets Fabio. The only notable

scene in this tedious film is the cat howling. The French are stuck on

adulterous wives, and loveless sex scenes.

**3. Lea - Slovakia, Germany - Bleak picture of present day rural


and Eastern Germany. The characters are very well developed, slowly and

carefully. A true story of poetry, beauty and pain.

**4. The Opposite of Sex - USA - Martin Donovan in Tales of the City


Lolita (Christina Ricci) again. A little long, but very witty soap

opera tale of

two school teachers adventures in the "demi-monde."

***5. The Life of Jesus - France - Rural life in the north of France,

Zolaesque. This film has no music other than that of the local band,

when it

plays. Takes place in the town of Bailleul, near Lille. The very

good lead is

David Douche; there are no professional actors. We get epilectic

fits, lessons

in how to use a bidet, hardcore sex, a middleaged mother getting naked


of the bathtub, a fat girl having her panties taken down by a gang of


A vivid portrait of small town life, with beautiful scenes of the


countryside. No Parisian phoniness here!

**6. Broken Vessels - USA - A story of the descent into drug addiction

by a

young emergency paramedic in Los Angeles. A wonderful portrayal of

"Tweeker Sue," the neighbor.

**7. God Said Ha! - USA - Julia Sweeney stand up. She is very

talented and

holds the audience for 85 minutes. Not good for hypochondriacs,


There is sickness and death in her very personal story. Her portrayal

of Patt

in an earlier movie is still my favorite. Patt had no sense of humor

whatsoever, and that made her very funny. God Said Ha! has its own

webpage, I liked Julia’s description of how her mother

picked out a new crucifix of Jesus to go over the alter of her parish

church in


**8. Gadjo Dilo (Crazy Non-Gypsy) - Romania - This portrayal of modern

Romanian gypsy life is superb. The music is wonderful. Gypsy life is

full of

passion, as we all know. Also suffering.

9. Adam and Eva - Sweden - only a Swedish comedy can be depressing. We

all miss you, Ingmar. Unfortunately, the Swedes can be ordinary, just


us. We don’t all have the same sense of humor. The Swedes are

sophisticated and sensitive, I must admit.

10. Stella Does Tricks - Scotland, England - the English in this grim,

misantropic movie is hard to understand, due to the Scottish accents.

A drug

addicted prostitute remembers her childhood in Glasgow, while

indulging in

resentment, anger, and revenge. I wonder if the film maker relished the

mean-spiritedness of our pathetic Stella and her deserving victims.

11. How to Make the Cruelest Month - USA - (which is December). This

movie is in the genre "college slackers," told from the point of view

of a

young girl for whom it is hard to have any sympathy. I hate to tell

you, but

she does marry the young doctor.

12. I Went Down - Ireland - This movie is hard to understand due to the

Irish accents. I slept through most of this genial gangster buddy flic.

**13. Postman Blues - Japan - here we have farce, melodrama, comedy,

sentimentality, and a joke milked for all it is worth all mixed

together in a

melange dear to the Japanese moviegoer. This makes for a very


movie. The postman makes two friends, a gangster and a professional

assassin, and falls in love with a dying cancer patient.

14. Full Tilt Boogie - USA - documentary of the making of the movie


from Dusk to Dawn, which came out last year. It was interesting if you

want to know how an "independent" movie is made. The monster costumes

were the most interesting. The monster women are "chthonian", and the

pimple pus is disgusting.

***15. Kitchen Party - Canada - This small film is very insightful

into the

relationship of parents to their teenage offspring. Portrayed here very

skillfully were middle class people trying to survive, and not really


how to do it. Drug use by the boys and alcohol use by the girls and the

parents seems the only way these people know how to go about it. Little

dramas rule, and the teens are awfully good at creating them. The


lives seem ruled by fear. Just seeing the way that the living room

rug is

vacuumed is worth the price of admission.

*16. Mr. Jealosy - USA - Eric Stoltz lead actor. This is a Woody


film about young Manhattan writers. The characters are sophisticated,


not as much as Woody Allen New Yorkers. These are "normies" and they

have relationship problems that we all wish we were so glamorous that we

could have them too. The movie tells a good story and is entertaining


watch, with good music; it is especially nice to hear the Jules and

Jim music

after all these years!

17. Black Angel - Japan - this movie about female assassins is taken

from a

comic book series. Here we have style. We also have blood, shouting,

wailing, screeching, moaning, rape, vomit, shooting up, shooting and

kicking, and female punching bags. We learn that you must kill all of


henchmen before you can kill the leader, who may happen to be your own

mother. We also learn that when you pour whiskey on someone, it really

should be Jack Daniels. A highlight of this film is a dance on a bed

with a

large pink scallop shell for a headboard.

**18. Remembering Sex - USA - the lead, Christine Harnos, is very

beautiful. The story about three girlfriends living in New York ten


after college, and their realization that they will each have to take


test,(the year is 1983), considering their sexually promiscuous lives.


lead is an artist, and has an alcohol problem, which means that she

does not

always remember her nightly activities. The character development is


slow and after awhile the viewer gets to know these young ladies, and


to care about them.

*19. Firelight - England - 19th century manorhouse, significant looks,

well-crafted masterpiece theater type movie, loyalty, devotion, and


Enough sentiment to bring tears to an audience, and a good story. The

theme is that love and desire in great intensity can change reality.

It may be

true, who knows; science still has some new forces to discover in the



Reviews 20-30: 5/26/98

***20. Dirty - Canada - Babz Chula gives a superb performance as a

middle aged

marijuana dealer. We here get the real Vancouver. And we get skilled

acting. Art tries to capture reality, or the way that the artist can

show us what he sees of it. This movie succeeds. Vancouver will

never look the same.

****21. Deja Vu - USA - This movie is the latest in a series of Henry


movies, who along with Whit Stillman and Atom Egoyan, is one of my

favorite movie directors. The first scene is in the old city of

Jerusalem. Then

we move to Tel Aviv, Paris, Dover, London for most of the movie, then


Angeles, back to London, and finally end back to Paris. This is the


movie where Jaglom has tried to deal with a more challenging subject

matter, going beyond his forte, which is intelligent conversation.

This time

the characters analyze their feelings about the unfolding events of

the story,

and the choices that confront them. What role does chance play in our


and is there a hidden purpose to seemingly random events. Do we go with

our gut feelings, or do we go by our experience. Are we part of a


materialistic world, or is there an underlying spiritual realm which

is only

accessible to us through emotion, not intellect. The series of extemely

improbable encounters that happen to the heroine of the story can be

brushed off as a good movie story, or they can be considered

seriously. It is

up to the viewer to decide.

***22. The Last Days of Disco - USA - Whit Stilman takes three years to

write a movie script, and the hearing the beauty of the language of the

characters in his stories is our reward. If only we could hear the


language spoken like this more often. The style of the language in his

movies is unique. His characters are what were called in the eighties

yuppies, and the lives of these precocious young professionals are

the envy

of many of us provincials. This movie recreates the disco scene of

the early

eighties, and develops the characters and friendships of the two young


and three young men for us, who may have known some people from this

New York social milieu at some time in our lives, or maybe we just know

them from the movies.

*23. Nosferatu - Germany 1922 - F.W. Murnau is a great German

director, and this silent classic is worth seeing, although I am sick

of Dracula movies. This one moves right along. It is visually very

beautiful, and the screen is tinted at times in reds, blues, yellows,

and greens.

24. Surrender Dorothy - USA - A story of herione addicts. A lot of

shooting up. This is an example of the director making a fairly

interesting film, despite his intention to make a polemic about

"domestic abuse."

***25. Voyage to the Beginning of the World - Portugal - a lot of

"walkouts" during this film. All talk and no action. Marcello

Mastroiani's last film before he died. Musings on the nature and

meaning of memory; this of course reminded me of Proust. In Portuguese

the word is "saudades." Needs to be seen twice.

***26. Hold You Tight - Hong Kong - This film is the most erotic of

the festival so far. The Cantonese speak very rapidly, so it is a

challenge to keep up. It is like a short trip to Hong Kong, and the

development of the relationships in the film are interesting but

confused due to the use of flashbacks.

***27. Road to Nhill - Australia - this is an Australian "Our Town."

This portrait of a small, isolated town is moving and original. The

humor is unique and wonderful.

28. Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Germany - This film is entertaining

and well scripted and acted. What would you do if you only had a

short time to live? Would you get drunk, steal cars, rob banks, and

go to see the ocean? Not me.

***29. Things I Left in Havana - Spain - Many of the best films in the

world these last few years are coming out of Spain. This one is no

exception. It is a story set in the Cuban emigre community in Madrid.

This is a world most of us will never see firsthand. This story of

three sisters newly arrived from Cuba relates how the new arrivals

find their way in a foreign land.

***30. Dead Man's Curve - USA - An up to date Hitchcock hommage.

These college students are very, very bad boys. This satirical film

is also very well acted. The lead is devilish, Matthew Lillard. This

movie has its own website at

Reviews 31-39: 5/28/98

***31. Sixth Happiness - India - This movie is about a Farsi family in

Bombay, a very wonderful family indeed. I think that people in India

have a different way of thinking about death than we do in the West.

Farsis bury their dead in trees and let the vultures devour the

corpses. They have a very old religion that came from Persia, and

they were driven out by the Moslem conquest and went to India. They

are a very affluent and educated community. This movie deals with the

subject of love and death in a very intense and beautiful way; a way

that most of us have never seen.

*32. Pusher - Denmark - Copenhagen does have an unhappy side to it, a

world of drug addiction and violence. This "cinema verite" treatment

of the subject could send some viewers to their first AA meeting.

****33. Next Stop Wonderland - USA - This very wonderful film is set

in Boston. We are again dealing here with the question of whether

life consists of a series of random accidents, or whether there is an

underlying meaning or purpose to what only appear to be random events.

In a movie, of course, it is easy to make things appear "fated," and

this device is used here. There is good use made here of the Boston

Aquarium, much humor, and the advice to always read at least one line

out of a book once you open it, even if by accident. We also have a

discussion here about sadness, and a Brazilian mentions the concept of

"saudades," which is a mixture of sadness and happiness. This was the

subject of the earlier film which starred Marcello Mastroianni in his

last role.

**34. Regular Guys - Germany - These Frankfurt policemen are dealing

with questions of what is manliness. I am starting to think that

German humor seems somewhat silly to Americans, but may not really be

so. Germany is not as puritanical as America, but the attitudes

towards sex are similar to ours. And so there are the same categories

which categorize what is normal and what is not. This movie tries to

make fun of this. It is quite entertaining.

****35. Frank Lloyd Wright - USA Documentary - Great architecture is

compared to a symphony, and this inspiring life of the greatest

architect is accompanied by Beethoven throughout. We forget the

importance of architecture and the large role it plays in our lives,

except when we travel, and then view the great buildings of the world

on purpose. But we take it for granted while we live with and in this

art form every day.

****36. Cleopatra's Second Husband - USA - This movie will either

offend you, or you will love it! Maybe then you will know if you are

a "normie." The acting by Boyd Kestner is very good; he is a very,

very bad boy. The wife is just very bad. The husband is just normal.

Hint, the house sitters let the tropical fish die.

*37. Under the Skin - England - I missed the last half hour of this

movie, but I will count it because I was later filled in on what

happened. This was a prolonged nervous breakdown on the part of a

young lady after the death of her mother, which took the form of

sexual promiscuity, to the luck of the movie viewer. She is really

quite gorgeous.

***38. Caresses - Spain (Catalan) - This Catalan language movie is a

"chain" movie, where each pair parts and one of them meets the next

person, until the last one meets the first one, and the circle is

complete. Usually these pairs involve love affairs, but in this movie

it is other relationships. Here we have a married couple, the husband

slaps wife, the wife beats up husband; the wife meets her mother, who

she hates and puts into a retirement home, where the mother meets an

old friend, who she tells of her hatred of her daughter in a shocking

monologue; the old friend meets her brother, who is a street bum, and

whose wife she seduced years before; the brother meets a bad boy, who

robs him, the bad boy meets his father, and they take a bath together;

the father meets his mistress and tells her that she stinks in a

shocking monologue; the mistress meets her father and insults him; the

father meets his lover, a young man; the lover meets his mother, who

only wants money from him, and then the mother meets the original

battered husband, and gives him "tea and sympathy." Why are these

people so endearing?

39. Claudine's Return - USA - I fell asleep during this movie, so may

have missed the development in the relationship bewteen the Italian

drifter and the tramp, who is really from a wealthy Charleston family.

*40. Funny Games - Austria - This film will require you several days

to get your bearings back. I do not recommend watching it. It is

like entering the gates of Auschwitz. The horror is unrelenting. The

acting job is superb. At least an effort is made during the film to

remind us several times that this is just a movie. Horrible cruelty

can happen in this world; we should be aware of it.

***41. Relax, It's Just Sex - USA - Many movies start out witty and

exciting, but fritter themselves out inexplicably. This movie goes

from witty humor in the first half, to maudlin sentimentality in the

second. It is interesting and entertaining enough, though, for me to

recommend it. And it has the best mother so far.

42. Marie Baie Des Anges - France - This movie is as gorgeous as a

Kalvin Klein ad, but is completely pointless, with no discernible

theme. The fourteen year old prostitute is named Marie, and the Baie

Des Anges is along the French Riviera.

***43. Lost and Found - USA - This is another wonderful movie set in

Boston. It is about love and emotions, without the glitz. The

yelling roommate is well acted and funny.

**44. Girl With Hyacinths - Sweden - 1950 - This is a well done

classic Swedish flim. It consists of flashbacks and interviews by the

neighbor of a woman who commits suicide at the beginning of the movie,

in order to find out why. Seeing this now makes us see how much the

world has changed in half a century.

***45. The Thief - Russia - A true picture of the cruelty and

hopelessness of life in Russia in the Stalin period. The advice to

the boy by his mother's lover is to "make people fear you, so that you

can get what you want from them." This is the lesson that Stalin

taught his subjects.

*46. Geneologies of a Crime - France - We get to see one of the great

actresses of Europe, Catherine Deneuve, play two roles in this film,

which is in the French "absurdist" tradition. It was hard for me to

judge, but the film has much of interest, in a literary vein, maybe

satirical, but I don't really know. It had interesting characters and

situations, maybe "surrealist." It may be based on the poetry of

Mallarme, some of whose lines are used in the film.

*47. Inspirations - USA - documentary about artists. Included are

glass, clay, painting, dance, song, architecture. Included are Dale

Chihuly, David Bowie, Roy Liechtenstein. Many words of wisdom, but

unfortunately I fell asleep.

Reviews 48-62: 6/3/98

**48. Smoke Signals - USA - This film is very well done, set in the

Coeur D'Alene Indian Reservation, and some of it filmed at our very

own Soap Lake! This movie is a lesson in humility and forgiveness.

It totally avoids all the bombast and preachiness that we have learned

to expect in movies which may fall into the "political correct"

category. The acting is skillful and the humor is low key. The music

of the American Indian presented here is very wonderful. This is a

gentle dose of sadness and beauty.

**49. My Secret Cache - Japan - This comedy is very well done. This

is Japanese humor at its best.

**50. Sex Life in L.A. - USA, German director - This documentary goes

into a world that is not so forthcoming in honesty, due to laws which

can lead to imprisonment for certain activities. But here some of the

interviewees are honest about drug use and hustling careers. At least

the porn video industry is legal! This movie may not really tell us

anything that we don't know, but it is very satisfying for anyone who

has any curiosity at all.

**51. Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss - USA - This is a "twink" movie,

and well done for what it is. Some of the characters are silly.

Entertaining, and a rehash of America's obsession with "deviant"

sexual activity.

*52. The Campus - Germany - Set in Hamburg, this movie shows how the

"sexual harassment" craze has moved to Europe from America, and is

being used for political ends in Germany as well as in America.

****53. Hanging Garden - USA - This movie is fantastic. Only one

person in the audience caught on, and it wasn't me. I think it needs

to be seen twice.

***54. Backroads - Spain - A father and son movie. It is quite

wonderful. It is set in the seventies, just at the end of Franco's


**55. Forgotten Light - Czech - This film is set in 1987, while the

communists still ruled, and their reign seemed like it would be

forever. Yet it was only a couple of years from its end. We get a

picture of faith in an incomprehensible God, which survives even in an

atheistic dictatorship.

***56. Twelve Storeys - Singapore - This film is about suffering,

sadness, and frustration. It begins with a suicide. Lives of "quiet

desperation" are apparently not so quiet in Singapore. Chinese tend

to be quite vocal. This movie has wonderful acting. There is a woman

living with her nagging mother, a newly married couple, the wife from

Peking, the husband runs a noodle stand, and a brother and his two

younger siblings, including his sister who he wants to protect from

reality. The suicide's ghost lingers to suffer along with those left

behind on this earth.

****57. Wilde - England - The film is an "event." There have been

high points of human civilization, like Renaissance Florence, ancient

Athens, and nineteenth century England. Here we get it, and Oscar

Wilde was part of it. Unfortunately, every great civilization harbors

the poison that will lead to its decline. In England they called it


*58. Jeanne and the Perfect Guy - France - This is a musical, and I

enjoyed the French songs very much. Some are sung while the

characters are nude in bed together. Others are very funny, or

choreographed very well. The story is light and flawed and somewhat

tedious, with loose ends.

***59. Lawn Dogs - USA - A friendship between a little girl and a

young man. The little girl works through her darker fantasies, to the

peril of the young guy. The other characters are somewhat

stereotyped, but they illustrate to us once again "the banality of


**60. Yours and Mine - Taiwan - This comedy is very original, like a

series of skits, but using the same characters throughout. The jokes

are not taken too far; they are dropped after they have made their

point. The humor is dark, and different from what we are used to.

The situations center around a plastic surgeon and his staff, and are

grouped in four categories: Car, House, Body, and Sex.

***61. Amor de Hombres - Spain - Here we see the Spanish Renaissance

continuing to bloom. The Spanish version of Bette Midler is the

narrator. She truly loves and appreciates the masculine gender, and

unlike many movie ladies, accepts them as they are. Her admiration is

reciprocated. She does not have to find true love, she has it. An

amazing film.

****62. Gods and Monsters - USA - This movie must be a true story, but

may be somewhat fictionalized, I don't know. It is set is fifties

Hollywood, with flashbacks to World War I, as the dying movie director

remembers his past. There is some very good acting in this movie,

especially by Brendan Fraser.

Reviews 63-70: 6/5/98

***63. Lucky Star (Buena Estrella) - Spain - It is amazing how the

Spanish films are consistently excellent. They are not only well

done, but they deal with ideas that make you think. This film made us

think about the nature of goodness and love.

*64. Sugar Factory - USA - This film was flawed, but had a good story,

if it had been done well. A little girl freezes to death while hiding

in the refrigerator during a game of hide and seek. Consequences

follow, including a nervous breakdown where the main character pees on

the dinner table at his brother's wedding. The point of the film is

made at the end: Go with what you feel even if it seems way out of


*65. Carried Away - USA - This movie was made in Seattle in locations

that I see every day. Unfortunately "familiarity breeds contempt."

This film had a very good story, but the flaws in the script may have

been major, or it may have been flaws in my judgement.

***66. Day of the Beast - Spain - This modern adventure of Don Quixote

and Sancho Panza is set in present day Madrid. Don Quixote is here a

priest who sets out to save the world from the anti-Christ. Very well


*67. Late Full Moon - Bulgaria - Unfortunately this interesting film

about the rigors of old age in a very impoverished ex-communist

country was ruined by a preachy ending about the evils of capitalism.

Apparently this film was made by people nostalgic for their defunct

cradle to grave welfare state, however illusory it may have been in

reality. Curiously, there was lip service given to life being

meaningless without God. Maybe the filmmakers believe there is no God

and that life is meaningless.

*68. Tic Tac - Sweden - The lives of these horrible people all

interact like in a game of tic tac toe. Are we being shown the result

of fifty years of Swedish socialism: hopelessness and vulgarity? What

ever happened to Ingmar Bergman?

***69. Six Ways to Sunday - USA - The ultimate Jewish mother movie!

This film is set in a fictional Youngstown, Ohio, in a hodgepodge of

decades of this century, with very loveable movie gangsters, all of

whom get bumped off by the end of the film. Only mother stays with

us, alive or dead. No Jewish American princesses here; only the hoi

polloi. I remember them from my childhood.

**70. Dancemaker -USA - Documentary about the Paul Taylor Dance

Company. Paul Taylor is one of the greatest living choreographers,

who started out dancing with Martha Graham. I have seen them perform

many times, both in New York at City Center and Seattle at Meany Hall

every year, so I was familiar with both the dancers and the dances.

Reviews 71-75: 6/7/98

***71. Love Can Be Hazardous to Your Health - Spain - This one is a

comedy about a life long love affair. We get to meet both the Beatles

and the King of Spain. It has some wonderful Spanish songs, and a few

words of wisdom. One is that "if a man remains a child all of his

life, he will always like to play."

**72. The Kingdom - Denmark - This marathon made for Danish TV so far

consists of eight parts of 70 minutes each. Do your math. This year

I only watched the first part again; I saw the first four a couple of

years ago. The Kingdom is about a large hospital, and its gradual

invasion by the spirit world. Can modern science deal with matters of

life and death?

*73. Cloud Capped Star - India 1960 - This classic Indian film was

hard to follow, especially since old subtitles are often white on a

white background. The director Ritwik Ghatak is considered one of

India's great directors, but is relatively unknown here. His work

resembles that of Mizoguchi in Japan; intimate looks at extended


***74. Nettoyage a Sec (Drycleaning) - France - This drama is set in a

French provincial town, Belfort. We have a married couple who run a

successful dry cleaning business, their small son, and the husband's

mother living above the business. Is life complete? French movies

can be superficial, but this one is not. We do get to see one of the

treats of French movies, the wallpaper, which in France is ubiquitous.

***75. Henry Fool - USA - Hal Hartley, along with Jaglom and Stillman,

is one of America's noteable directors, with his own distinct,

recognizable style. This film was somewhat puzzling to me, built

around the character of Henry, who seemed a movie version of Steph

Gorkii, an artist friend of mine. But the portrait that emerges is

provocative; Henry is a powerful presence in his world.

Reviews 76-86: 6/10/98

****76. Wicked - USA - This suburban murder mystery is set in one of

these very expensive, new suburban developments like Mill Creek, but

outside L.A., in the desert. Huge, new houses, gated community. Every

character has a motivation for being the murderer. This film is very


done. It is satire, delving into father daughter oedipal motives,

made overt.

*77. Brandon Teena Story - USA - This documentary is competantly done.

We get a portrait of small town Nebraska, uneducated but good people,

unable to comprehend the psychopathic killers dwelling among them.

America's flawed psyche is laid bare.

****78. Brother - Russia - We have had high points in the history of

humanity, and low ones. Russia is at the end of a century of the

latter. This

film does not promote tourism to St. Petersburg. It is easy to get a

look at

the seamy side of the city, because that is all of it. This film is

such a

powerful portrait of brutality that you will not forget it. In

America such

cruelty is limited to psychopaths. In Russia, it is normal people just


**79. Above Freezing - USA - This film's characters are working class

people from New York City. The script and acting are well done. The


are in the small mindedness of the characters. Maybe people are

really like

this, or maybe they are movie cliches. Or maybe the battle of the

sexes is

basically at this low level, the mentality of Mafia gangsters.

**80. Marthe - France - Competently done WWI film. I had an insight


feminism happens between wars, when women become dissatisfied that the

men are not dying for them. The use of the Kol Nidre during the love


was bizarre. Leave it to the French. Shostakovich string quartets

were also

used in better taste.

81. Unknown Cyclist - USA - Sappy bicycle marathon along the California

coast. Pretty scenery. Homely lead actress.

**82. Georgica - Estonia - This is the first time that I have ever

seen a film in

the Estonian language. The title refers to a work by Virgil, which

one of the

two characters in the film is translating into Swahili. The story is

about the

relationship between an old man and a young boy in his care.

*83. How the War Started on My Island - Croatia - This movie was about

the beginning of the war between Serbia and Croatia. It had a lot of


in it, but was basically serious. The laughter of the audience

offended me.

84. I Married a Strange Person - USA - This cartoon is drawn with great

talent and imagination. Some of the scenes are very inspired. But

most of it

is mindless violence. To see the one quarter of it that is brilliant

may be

worth it.

*85. Delivered - USA - Why can't a film made in Seattle be good? Again

familiarity breeds contempt. This movie is cute. Good actors, good

locations, slap together a story, and you have a film, entertaining.

A pizza

delivery man as the basis for a serial killer comedy?

**86. When Trumpets Fade - USA - This film is a very detailed

recreation of

a small battle in WWII in Germany towards the end of the war. We

follow a

group of about six American soldiers into a battle that is hell on

earth. Not

recommended for the squeamish.

Reviews 87-99: 6/15/98

***87. Land of the Deaf - Russia - The three Russian films this year

have all been of the highest quality and seriousness. The acting in

this movie was fascinating and very professional. Again, we are shown

the degradation of life in Russia. You don't have to be a drug addict

there to resort to prostituting yourself for money. The characters in

this film are so vividly drawn, that you realize that the long

tradition of acting and drama still survives in Russia today.

***88. Wintersleepers - Germany - I started to wonder while watching

this film where are the great films of post-war Germany, equivalent to

those of Italy, France, Russia, Sweden, England, Japan, and now Spain.

I have always thought that it would take at least fifty years for

German art to recover from the holocaust. There is evidence in this

film that the revival may happen. Although flawed, this movie, set in

the Bavarian Alps, makes a serious attempt to explore what life is all

about. The mountains are spectacular, the plot puzzling but thought


*89. Motello - Denmark - This is a clever combination of three

Shakespeare plays: Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello. I think if you know

Danish, you would get more of it. We think we are seeing Hamlet in

present day Denmark, but end up with the murderer being from Macbeth.

And Rosencrantz and Guilenstern are saved. This is the third film

festival film this year where people get locked in freezers!

*90. Thank God He Met Lizzie - Australia - This is the only wedding

movie at this year's festival. If you think about it, "wedding

movies" form a genre of their own. There are happy ones, sad ones,

funny ones, philosphical ones, one's where the groom doesn't show up,

and like this one, nightmare weddings. Unfortunately, I could only

understand about half of what was said, sometimes Australian movies

need subtitles.

****91. Felice, Felice - Holland, Japan - This movie is about the life

of the photographer Felix Beato, set in 1895 in Japan. The movie was

filmed entirely in Holland, using Beato's hand-colored photos for the

exterior scenes. For a recreation of life in turn of the century

Japan, this movie is not to be missed.

92. Around the Fire -USA - This film about followers of the Greatful

Dead rang false. One viewer said that it had a political correct

slant which put him off. The movie dealt with marijuana and LSD use,

and treatment ordered by the court.

****93. Mothertime - England - This film was a surprise. It was

excellent. Three film characters this year have been locked in

freezers, this one was locked in a sauna. It seemed to have reference

to a classic English film, Our Mother's House, where the children try

to live without their mother, and carry out a deception that the

mother is still there. Bach's Goldberg Variations are part of the plot.

***94. Love is from the Devil - England - This film deals with the

life of the great English painter Francis Bacon, and tries to recreate

his painting style in film. Since his work is difficult, the film

tries to explain what his art means, by showing the world through his

eyes. I think it is a fairly successful attempt. His life is not


*95. Floating - USA - This may have been set at Waldon Pond. It

involves the relationships between two fathers and two sons, and the

friendship between the teenage sons. Unfortunately I fell asleep

during the middle part. There was what I call a "shrieker" in the

audience, which is defined as a stupid woman who laughs very loudly at

innappropriate times; she kept waking me up!

96. The Governess - England - This movie outraged me, which was the

only enjoyable part. I got so bored that I left before it was over,

but people told me the rest of the dismal story. This is the fourth

movie in which a governess or au pair seduces the man of the house.

This movie was set in mid-nineteenth century England. The very devout

young Jewish lady managed to violate most of the ten commandments by

the end of the movie. I think it was some sort of feminist statement.

As the heroine of Annie Get Your Gun sang, "Anything you can do, I can

do better."

*97. Dark Harbor - USA - This film involved psychopathic behavior by

totally normal people. There was no motive for murder other than to

create a surprise ending for the film. But it was very entertaining.

***98. Denial - USA - This comedy had serious ideas, entertainingly

presented. It explored the nature of male sexual fidelity, and the

different expectations of males and females. In order to live, maybe

we need to be in some degree of "denial," or in other words "ignorance

is bliss." Otherwise, would we ever eat in restaurants?

*99. This is my Father - Canada, Ireland - The Irish tell a really

good story, and this movie is no exception. But unfortunately it was

made by North Americans, and had some serious flaws. One of the best

movies ever made, The Dead, by John Huston, has a similar theme. A

seemingly socially acceptable place to "pin the blame" these days, is

on the Catholic Church. It is an easy way out.

Back to SIFF 1998