Overdosing on Cinema

by tully
October 3, 2006 5:40 AM
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There are still many days of NYFF screenings left, yet I feel like I'm about to hit a wall. I don't think it's healthy to watch so many movies in such a short span of time. It's unfair to the filmmakers, whose works deserve our full attention as viewers and reviewers. Yet it's hard not to become antsy and impatient when watching films back-to-back-to-back. But don't worry, I'm a professional. And I'm also not complaining. After a sluggish start, this is turning out to be another unforgettable NYFF. Tomorrow brings THE JOURNALS OF KNUD RASMUSSEN and REDS (featuring a press conference with Mr. Beatty himself), so the train of goodness keeps on a-chuggin'. Choo-choo.

Having begun by pointing out my impending exhaustion and distaste with the concept of multiple-movie days, what did I do with my free afternoon since today's two screenings were completed by 1:15? Why, go to the movies, of course! This time, it was THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP, which simply had to be done. All I can say is hooray for low expectations. For some reason, I had it in my head that this was going to be a purely superficial spectacle, without a fraction of the heart of ETERNAL SUNSHINE. I was very wrong. Like everyone else in the world, I am a sucker for Gael Garcia Bernal, and while I knew he was talented, I never expected him to be so genuinely funny. His Stephane is an achingly human creation, bursting with zany charm one minute, and cowering with hopeless desperation the next. As for Monsieur Gondry, he captures the confusion of love in all its twisted, gory glory. At first glance, the film appears to be a lighthearted romp through the mind of an innocent young man, but upon deeper inspection, it is a brilliant depiction of male insecurity. The only person getting in the way of Stephane and Stephanie is Stephane himself, yet he can't seem to contain his irrational, self-sabotoging mind. I can't remember another film that addressed this issue so honestly. The best part about THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP is that it moves like a light breeze, and ends on an appropriately bittersweet note. I'm close to calling Michel Gondry "Michel Godry." If BE KIND REWIND delivers on its deliriously brilliant premise, I might be doing just that.

I will conclude today's entry by pointing you in the direction of Tom Hall's second NYFF essay, which was written at the request of yours truly. I only gave Tom these assignments because I felt confident that he would be able to eloquently express what I cannot, but I had no idea that he would deliver something as brilliant as "Inherit the Kingdom: Pan's Labryinth vs. Lady in the Water (or Homework II)." This is the definitive statement on this subject. It is also one of the best essays I've read this year.

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