Its finally happened, the curse of the film festival goer. As it probably has no designation I shall term it Festival Fatigue. This isnt to say that Im tired of the film festival (quite the opposite; I shall be sad to see it end), simply that seeing movie after movie, particularly when one is working in the evenings, can eventually tire you out, even during an enjoyable movie. Furthermore the heat is unusually intense; this is the 11th successive film festival I have attended and almost certainly the hottest. This is all, you can probably guess, my attempt at excusing myself for falling asleep during the winner of this years Best Foreign Language Picture, The Secret In Their Eyes. I was enjoying the movie, and I only dozed for a very brief while, but much of the movie I was in a physical battle with my eyelids, making it difficult to take in the information in the subtitled and the fairly elaborate (it seemed to me) plot. It would be disingenuous to review the movie fully not to mention difficult but let it be said that I am eager to see it again. It is a crime procedural focussing on the men trying to find the killer of a young woman, alternating between the case itself, 25 years ago, and the modern day where the hero is still haunted by it. It features impressive performances, has a dark sense of humour, and features, I can at least say, one of the most incredible shots Ive seen in a movie in some time. Its a long continuous take in a football stadium. Youll know it when you see it. I think it outdoes the long Steadicam shot in GoodFellas. I think its a trick, insofar as it involves more than one shot cleverly put together, but whatever it is it must have been incredibly difficult to plan.
The Secret In Their Eyes is on at the Best of the Fest on Sunday so I may see it then to make up for its having defeated me. Another film playing again on Sunday is Soulboy, which I point out because it has knocked The Illusionist (my review HERE) off the top spot of the audience award polls. This is frustrating, as I missed its screening and didnt have much optimism about it. Not that I necessarily think it will be good, but the award is a useful indicator of how things are going down. Slightly surprisingly, or perhaps not, Cherry Tree Lane is at the bottom of the list. I do not think this reflects the quality of the movie, but rather the ability that movie will have to make people hate it. I did not, although I certainly didnt love it either.
I did not, Im happy to report, fall asleep during Werner Herzogs new movie, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done. The press and industry screening had hardly a seat left; Herzog is a popular film festival choice. Also a film festival staple: Chloë Sevigny, who co-stars along with Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Brad Dourif, Irma P. Hall and Udo Kier. Sevigny, incidentally, is in three movies at this years festival. Shannon plays Brad, a troubled guy living with his mother, engaged to Ingrid (Sevigny) and in possession of a pair of flamingos. The story is about the incidents leading up to Brad killing his mother and locking himself in his house told in flashback after the event although it is not so crass as to come up with a simple answer. The story is based on a real incident, and is therefore appropriately unsettling, but Herzog also brings to the movie a very dark sense of humour about the meaningless of it all. In a way it might be minor Herzog, not one of his real masterpieces, but it has been a highlight of the festival for me. It is challenging and darkly witty, and features strong performances. The characters are to an extent inexplicable (why does the fiancé put up with him so long despite the fact hes clearly nuts?) but that is what makes them intriguing. Herzog continues to be one of the most interesting directors working in the world. Edinburgh Film Festival 2010: Day 7 (Lola; The Rebound)Edinburgh Film Festival 2010: Day 6 (Skeletons, Frears' Gumshoe, The Man Who Would Be King)Edinburgh Film Festival 2010: Day 4 (Whiskey With Vodka, The Extra Man)Edinburgh Film Festival 2010 Day 3: (The Hunter, Sodeberghs Doc, Cherry Tree Lane) Edinburgh Film Festival 2010: Day 2 (Pelican Blood, Huge) Edinburgh Film Festival 2010: Day 1 (The Illusionist; Son of Babylon) Edinburgh 2010 Review: THE EXTRA MANEdinburgh 2010 Review: AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINEEdinburgh 2010 Review: CHERRY TREE LANE Edinburgh 2010 Review: THE ILLUSIONIST and Matt Holmes' review of Toy Story 3.