I didn't get to see as many films as I would have liked at the Atlantic Film Festival
but the two I saw were incredibly powerful, in two different ways.
is a documentary on the impact of, well, corporations. It's made by some of the people who were behind Manufacturing Consent
and features the usual assortment of leftie media darlings (Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore) along with some uber-capitialists thrown in for good measure.
The film's length (three hours) will probably mean that it won't get the exposure or audience it deserves, which is too bad. It's got a lot of really important points and arguments that the public should at least be aware of, even if they don't agree.
Although the film didn't drag, I found myself at times overwhelmed and almost physically sickened by the implications of where we're heading as a species. Fortunately, it got a little more optimistic near the end so I didn't walk out feeling completely drained. I have a feeling the film would've been easier to digest as either a shorter film or a longer, multi-part television series.
As for Lost in Translation
…well, wow. Simply, wow.
A co-worker told me the other day how he had finally seen Casablanca
for the first time. He loved it, and that from now on his judgment of a person's aesthetic taste would be based on whether they loved or hated Casablanca
. I think Lost in Translation
belongs on my personal aesthetic litmus test.
It's a film about how people struggle to emotionally connect with others in this horrible, messed up, complicated world we live in. It's funny, it's sad, it's even, at times, erotic, which is something I never thought I'd say about Bill Murray.
Scarlett Johansson is fantastic (I refuse to believe she's 18) but Murray is a revelation. His recent work with Wes Anderson has hinted at his hidden depths but I had no idea he was capable of a performance as incredibly rich and human as this. I've always loved the guy but in this film he explodes into an entirely different level. Part of what makes the film work is how it uses the audience's expectations of Murray's persona and then subverts it when least expected it at exactly the right moments for maximum emotional impact. See the film and you'll know what I mean.
There's already criticism
regarding the film's Yankee-centric vision and its treatment of the Japanese, which seems churlish to me. It's pretty clear that the urban jungle of Tokyo is used as a metaphor for the fact the two protagonists are so lost and alienated in their personal lives.
Not that it matters, but the film proves that Sofia Coppola is just as good as her dad, and her husband, Spike Jonze. I enjoyed and admired The Godfather
but that film could never come close to matching the emotional impact this film had on me. I mention this point as a comparison to judge against your personal aesthetic litmus test. You have been warned.