"...two screens occupied round the clock..."
The schedule at The Screen begins at 12:30 p.m. with A Useful Life, directed by Federico Veiroj. This gentle, black-and-white ode to a life lived among the reels was one of the discoveries of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. When dwindling attendance and diminishing support force his arthouse cinema to close its doors, Jorge is sent into a world he knows only through the lens of art, and is suddenly forced to discover a new passion that transcends his once-celluloid reality. This sly and loving homage to the soul of cinema is a universally appealing gem about life after the movies.
The 2:15 p.m. screening of White Meadows, directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, tells the story of a mysterious man who journeys from village to village to hear peoples’ sorrows and collect their tears. But to what end? This beautiful and otherworldly film proves to be “a continual source of surprise and wonder” (Variety).
At 4:30 p.m. Caris’ Peace is a U.S. documentary about one woman’s true and inspiring struggle to recover her life’s passion after the removal of a brain tumor leaves her with short-term memory loss. Witness Yale- trained, esteemed stage and screen actress Caris Corfman’s unique journey to return to the stage and reclaim meaning in her life.
6:45 p.m. The Deep Blue Sea, by master chronicler of post-War England, Terence Davies, is an adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s 1952 play about a woman whose overpowering, obsessive love alienates the men around her and destroys her well-being.
The evening at The Screen ends with Battlefield Heroes starting at 9 p.m. Directed by Lee Joon-ik, this Korean comedy/drama is a mud-splattered absurdist comedy, in which Korea is caught between two warring kingdoms. Set in 668 AD, Battlefield Heroes follows everyman Thingy as he plods through the battlefields, fully aware that war is for the rich because for the poor, nothing ever changes.
Over at CCA the first full day of the festival starts with a program of shorts at 11:45 a.m., including: Dilli, a documentary directed by Sushmit Ghosh/Rintu Thomas set in India; and Home, an Albanian drama directed by Kast Hasa about an Albanian family preparing for the homecoming of their son who had gone overseas in search of a better life. His arrival unexpectedly marks the beginning of a new and difficult chapter in their lives; From the Ground Up, directed by Beth Gage/George Gage is the story of five widows of firefighters ten years after 9-11 and Hands of Eros, a documentary by Linda Carfagno, was filmed in Italy and the U.S. I am particularly interested in seeing this one, as Linda has been working on Hands of Eros for several years and in it, she illuminates the sensuous and private world of Milton Hebald, master sculptor, whose hands have molded the human spirit from terracotta into bronze for over 80 years. Milton lived in Italy and, until a few years ago, in Santa Fe and has produced major works throughout Europe and the U.S., including spectacular pieces for the United Nations’ grounds in Manhattan. Linda has been a Santa Fe fixture as a photographer at events and important exhibitions around town for years.
This film reveals the private thoughts and skills of a man who, even at 94, enlivens his sculptures with beauty and innate eroticism. This non-linear short documentary maintains an historical thread, interweaving nearly a century of experiences and the unquenchable creative appetite of this bold artist. Milton Hebald, master sculptor – his hands are ‘The Hands of Eros’
The schedule continues at 2 p.m. with Marathon Boy, a Dickensian documentary portrait of corruption, political scandal and exploitation, which follows Budhia, a four-year-old boy rescued from the desolate slums of India and groomed by his surrogate father to become a national hero as a long distance runner.
4 p.m. brings us Capsulas, a directorial debut by Veronica Riedel that offers an original spin on the seamy world of drug trafficking as 12-year-old Fonsi creatively navigates a dysfunctional family, his bizarre and violent environment and yearns for a relationship with his estranged father.
Killing Memories at 6:15 p.m. is a documentary by director Pete Pepper that tells the story of four men who serve together in Vietnam, return with their former commander to meet their enemies, and confront their past with the hope of exorcising the demons that still haunt them. The ‘old man’ leads his unit back to South East Asia out of deep gratitude, crediting them with having saved his life after his wife’s suicide.
CCA closes out its Friday screenings with an 8:30 p.m. showing of Callers, a comedy/mystery by director Jeffrey F. Jackson. After the death of his girlfriend, Will starts receiving phone calls from his dearly departed. “I may be dead, but I’m committed to making this relationship work,” she says. Little does Will know, she’s just the first of many otherworldly connections in this uniquely original dark comedy.
Get a good night’s sleep and be ready for Saturday at the Festival. See you there.