SIFF 2008 Diary: Day 2

After working a lousy Saturday for sales I headed up Capital Hill to the Egyptian to see my next movie. Quick side note: On the possible factors that might break my will this film fest, nothing seems more likely than the chairs in the Egyptian. It’s a great venue, but the chairs are hella uncomfortable! It’s like putting a bedspring coil over pieces of metal and then wrapping cloth around it. When is someone going to get them new seat cushions? My back still hurts. Ugh.

——The Children of Huang Shi (2008)——

This is one of those movies that you really want to tell people is a great film, but it isn’t. It has beautiful location photography in China, a great cast, and a great message story about a British journalist in World War II China who gets forced into taking care of a war orphanage and ends up turning both the orphanage and the boys around. It’s a true story, which only amps up the weepy factor, especially when he saved all of the boys lives by making a 700 mile journey along the Silk Road to deliver the boys to safety.

Unfortunately, the script plays things too broad and obvious (if you can’t figure out how the movie is going to end, you just weren’t paying attention) to make this into a must see movie. And I think the lead, Jonathan Rhys Meyers was miscast in a role that paints this character as a saint…and not much else. Rhys Meyers is at his best playing someone flawed and is underutilized here.

The director was in attendance, but his Q&A was more enlightening about the process of working today in China than it was about the film itself. Good movie if you want to feel better about the world we live in, but otherwise—

(MISS)

——Epitaph (2007)——

After The Children of Huang Shi I had about three hours of free time before my first midnight movie, so I went out with Katharine and her friend to the International District (my first time down that way) to get some Japanese food and drinks. Then off to a bar near the Egyptian. Let’s just say I was a little toasted by the time I saw Epitaph, which I’m not really sure if that helped or hurt this film. This South Korean ghost story makes about zero sense as you are watching it, as three separate stories are interwoven in ways I, at least, was unable to make heads or tails off. I don’t think I was alone though, as the vibe of the audience seemed to be one of general confusion. I could try to tell you what this was about, but I don’t think that would even come close to explaining what I saw. It was almost as if the plot employed dream logic.

What I can tell you was that both the AC and the sound were cranked up to the max. So not only was I shivering, but when this quiet movie came to a point where a ghost would jump out at you THE STRINGS WOULD GET REALLY LOUD AND SCREACHY AND OMG THE SCREAMING!!! THE SCREAMING!!! A better movie would have cut at that point to an entire audience of people watching a movie with their ears bleeding.

(AVOID)

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