Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fantasia Day 5 - At World's End

Whew! The Fantasia train just keeps on rolling forward. It can be tough to keep up the energy on a Monday, especially after getting home at 1:00 on the Sunday night before, thanks to another long and interesting Q&A. But you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and once the movie starts, you realize it's all worth it.

I did also discover a new little burger restaurant on Bishop, just below Maisonneuve (kitty corner from the southeast corner of the Hall building and down the block a bit) called Le Gourmet Burger. I'm very happy that the burger joint trend has finally hit Montreal and this place was definitely above par. Good meat, properly cooked on a kaiser with good condiments including nicely sauteed onions for $5 (plus a wide range of fancy cheeses for extra). Definitely check it out if you like burgers.

I guess because it was after work it really seemed to be a very light audience, but just before it was to start, it got more and more crowded until by the end, it was easily a good 3/4 full if not more. The audiences at Fantasia are all slightly different depending on the movie (though the core is always the same). For At World's End, there seemed to be a sprinkling of elderly couples, many of them quite elegantly dressed (the tiny Danish diaspora of Montreal?)

Once again, the CJLO DJ was great and this time I was treated to one of my all-time favourite songs, "Help Me Somebody" by Brian Eno and David Byrne from their desert-island album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Very nice way to get in the mood!

The movie was enjoyable, a black humour action comedy with a pretty cool plot. A nature film crew is gunned down by a long-haired Dane in the jungles of Borneo, protecting the rare plant they were going to touch. A nebbish Danish psychiatrist, working in the upper echelons of the prison bureaucracy is sent to establish if he is insane and attempt to prevent his execution. The jungle dude's story is that he is 129 years old and has been surviving on the leaves of this plant. Once in Indonesia, the nebbish guy, partly through his own lameness, ends up in jail. He manages to break out with the jungle dude and adventure begins, with several groups chasing them through the jungle, all trying to find this mythical plant.

I enjoyed the film, but I didn't love it as much as Mitch did. There was a nice romantic sub-plot between the protagonist and his chatty and unworldly secretary. I guess I kind of disliked the protagonist and while the story had a lot of fun punishing him, I never felt like he truly redeemed himself. Maybe this kind of character is an understood type in Denmark.

The director himself was present (they seem to be at every film this year!) and he was a charming and intelligent guy that made me like the movie a lot more after listening to his stories of shooting in Australia and Indonesia. He talked about the differences between the crews in the two places and the nature of Danish cinema. He was particularly interested in someone's question about the theme of eternal life and ended up his Q&A (which went quite late) talking about how obsessed we have all become with youth and beauty. He told how Anne Archer had come to Denmark to do a commercial shoot that he was in and the entire time she ate only boiled water and bananas.

Mitch really seems to love Danish cinema, particularly the extreme juxtapositions between brutal violence and humour. I did find that entertaining and the action scenes were quite good with lots of people getting killed. But it didn't blow my mind.

But Revenant did and I'll get my review of that out later this afternoon. Must drink my tea!

3 comments:

Aylmer said...

Just wanted to say that your coverage of Fantasia is excellent and much appreciated. Looking forward to your review of The Revenant, a film that's been on my radar for a while. Keep it up!

WalkerP said...

Wow! Thanks a lot! It's really awesome to know people are reading. It keeps me motivated. The Revenant rocked and the review is up (might be a bit of a mess as I am cranking these out without a lot of revision beyond my helpful wife pointing out the glaring errors).

WalkerP said...

Oh crap and your blog looks awesome. I'm going to have add that to my too-long list of movie blogs as it is. Check it out, people:

http://unflinchingeye.blogspot.com/