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06/13/2004: "SIFF in Review"

music: Alanis Morissette - Hand In My Pocket, Silverchair - Miss You Love, Candlebox - Far Behind,
mood: Pretty Good

Today I finished up the last two Seattle International Film Festival movies that I had planned. So it seems like a good time to talk about my first film festival experience now.

I saw the following films, in the order listed, and give them the following overall ratings (from 1 to 5):

Uniform - Confused Drama - China - 1.5
Primer - Sci-Fi Drama - USA - 5
Nicotina - Dark Comedy - Mexico - 4
Ruby & Quentin - Light Comedy - France - 5
6ixtynin9 - Dark Comedy - Thailand - 3.5
A Problem With Fear - Confused Comedy - Canada - 2.5

Uniform was a tarrible way to start out the festival, except perhaps that it made me really aprreciate the next five I saw. It was almost a complete bomb, but for my passing interest in it as a documentary of day to day life in China. As a movie, however, almost everything was wrong. The plot mostly sucked (even though it could have been interesting), the cinematography was crap (but what can you do, when working with standard definition digital equipment that's probally 10 years old?), the dialogue is uninteresting, and it just goes downhill from there. Avoid this movie unless you're hoping to catch some rest and waste some money at the same time.

Primer was stark contrast to Uniform in that it was made with what may have been a similar budget (just $7000), but it was so much better. The writer, director, and lead actor was actually there at the screening, which was pretty cool because he answered some questions afterwards, and seemed like a genuine good guy. The movie is one which requires deep thinking - its definitely not a light popcorn movie. But the thought you have to put in is all worth it. Science is treated repectfully - it helps that the writer/director was a software engineer and a techie, and that he didn't have the budget for bad special effects. The film does lack exciting cinematography, and it could use some help in the music and sound department (but in this case, all of the above were one guy). However, this doesn't really detract from the movie, because the movie doesn't require any of this to be very, very good. I highly suggest that you go see it when it comes out in theaters in september (thats what I hear). You can also visit
the website for a trailer and other info on the forums. Very highly recommended.

I will finish this another time, when I am not yawning. Have a wonderful day!

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June 2004