First of all, I feel it is my duty to remind everyone that COCAINE ANGEL is screening tonight at 9pm in Norwalk, Connecticut, as part of the first ever Connecticut Film Festival. If you're in or near Norwalk, please go check it out. Unfortunately, self-imposed guilt has forced me to make a jaunt to Maryland to help my grandmother move tomorrow (yes, my life is insanely exciting), so I will be unable to attend. But I'll be there in spirit.
This spontaneous trip to Maryland means that yesterday was my final day of NYFF screenings. I'll be missing two final one-time-only screenings on Monday and Tuesday (THESE GIRLS and CLIMATES), which makes my quest to see every single film fall just a tiny bit short of perfection. Oh well. 28 out of 30 ain't bad.
You're probably expecting me to select INLAND EMPIRE as this weekend's NYFF must-see. You're probably wrong. After having watched it for a second time yesterday, I am here to confirm my initial suspicions. He did it better the first time around with MULHOLLAND DRIVE. I'm not recommending that you don't see it, as it remains a spectacle like no other on this, or any other, planet, and who knows if you'll ever get a chance to see it again. But when it comes to experiencing the work of a director who has officially blossomed into one of the world's greats--and who is, in fact, at the peak of his powers--I order you to see Apichatpong Weerasethakul's SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY this evening. It's only screening once, at 6:15pm, which makes your attendance especially vital. Truth be told, I don't think SYNDROMES is as breathtaking masterpiece as TROPICAL MALADY, but it is so alive and inventive and striking that it makes almost everything else I've seen at the festival feel traditional and boring. It also has the most unexpectedly electrifying conclusion since BEAU TRAVAIL, which is worth the price of admission alone.
Then stick around for the midnight screening of THE HOST. Like PAN'S LABRYINTH, THE HOST works viscerally as a shocking thrill-ride of entertainment, but it also has a serious, intellectual undercurrent, which makes it even more invigorating. Kudos to the NYFF selection committee for programming both of these films.
Tomorrow night brings another of my favorite films of the festival, Jafar Panahi's OFFSIDE, which captures the electricity of an Iranian World Cup qualifying match as well as it could be captured. Not to mention its true purpose as a poignant social commentary on the role of the female in today's Iranian society.
COMING NEXT WEEK:
Fellow blogger Tom Hall was kind enough to let me borrow his book about M. Night Shyamalan's painful experience making the Most Amazingly Awful Movie Ever (LADY IN THE WATER), and I have to say that it has floored me the way that "Trapped in the Closet" floored me when I first heard/saw it. There really are no words to describe it, but I'm surely going to try.