Wednesday, October 29, 2008

London Film Festival: Waltz with Bashir

First, a note on obvious messages from God. Taking a break from the festival rotation but not straying too far from my movie-junkie habit, I decided to take advantage of London release dates and swing in for a late matinée of the festival phenom. Gomorrah. 45 minutes in, I was liking the movie but decidedly not loving it—given this material, I want some formal and visual finesse—but I had bigger problems. For the first time in at least five years, I had to go to the bathroom during a movie. I will do anything, I will twist in my seat or silently kick my feet or whatever to get out of doing this, even if the movie is long or boring, and even if it means sprinting out the door after the credits finish rolling. But it couldn't be helped. So up and out I go, feeling immensely guilty for this 60 seconds or whatever, and then, immediately as I walk back into the theater, Gomorrah burns up in the projector. In fact, the city of London experiences its first October snowstorm in over 70 years, which knocks out the cinema's power, which kicks on the emergency generator, which surges so powerfully that all three prints burn in their separate theaters at exactly the same time.

Clearly, I will never pee during a film again. Please let me know if there is any other possible way to interpret this paranormal sequence of events.

Happily, I was able to use the extra hour and 20 minutes that suddenly stretched before me to wrestle with Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir, which has emerged from the last eight days of festival-hopping as the least vivid film in my imagination, even though I liked it better than most, and even though the whole point of the film is to resist amnesia and score a big point for personal and cultural memory. I have tried in my review to explain what I like about the film but also what I question about it and why I think it's not lasting well with me. Nick Schager's reservations about the film are stronger than mine are, at least at the moment, but it's not impossible that I'll wind up close to where he is, and I think he makes some very smart points.

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Blogger randomcha said...

Hey Nick! Rob here. Forgot to email you. Here's the place you should check out some evening (and it's close to a Tube station):

Have fun!

8:53 PM, October 29, 2008  
Blogger Colin Low said...

Clearly there's a queer reading to be made here, if God's wrath was to destroy all of Gomorrah and spare your insightful, movie-loving self.

(Great work on the Waltz with Bashir review, especially in situating the film within the larger context of "animation for adults" -- I'm eagerly awaiting the undisputed leader of that nascent genre, myself.)

8:35 AM, October 30, 2008  

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