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Spoiled for Choice: MSPIFF and beyond

Posted at 3:01 PM on April 20, 2007 by Euan Kerr

Slavoj Zizek bends your head in "Perverts Guide to Cinema" and explains how a) humanity needs movies, and b) he believes the Bates Motel is basic Freudism. (Image courtesy MSPIFF)

This is the kind of weekend when you have to take a deep breath and make a lot of serious decisions. With dozens of films being shown at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival, plus a host of new commercial openings, and the last couple of days of the Global Lens event at the Walker, what's a cine-head to do?

I have been able to take in a few of the Festival offerings already so here are a couple of thumbnails:

"The Perverts Guide to Cinema" (UK) Not much sex in this one actually: more a verbal tsunami by the rock star philosopher psychoanalyst and avowed film fan Slavoj Zizek on why people love movies. It's 2 1/2 hours of analysis delivered at machine-gun pace often from the locations of his favorite films: "Psycho," "The Birds," "Blue Velvet," "The Conversation," "Mulholland Drive," and a host of others. It's not for everyone, but Zizek is an engaging character and while you may not agree with his ideas, he gives you a whole lot on which to chew. I watched a DVD of the film and saw it has close to 70 chapters, which means they clearly expect people to see the film then watch and re-watch certain segments to grasp the full depth. It's a kick.

"The Valet" (France) Francis Veber ("La Cage Aux Folles," "My Father the Hero," "The Tall Thin Man with One Brown Shoe" (the original version, not the Hollywood remake,)) produces a deftly timed farce about a young man who finds himself being paid to shack up with a supermodel by a billionaire industrialist trying to keep the fact that he's having an affair with the model from his wife. Silly? Yes. Fun? A ton. (This film will get a commercial release here next month)

''The Book of Revelation" (Australia) Another one which may fool some people by it's title. It's not biblical in the least. A dancer is kidnapped and used as a sex slave by a group of hooded strangers. The twist is that dancer is male and his captors all women. Films about abuse are never easy to watch, but director Ana Kikkinos poses some challenging questions about gender roles and the long term impacts of sexual violence.

What I hope to see: It's the soccer fan in me I know, but I am keen to see "The Great Match" which is about three separate groups of people in remote locations (Mongolia, the Amazon jungle, and the Tenere Desert in Niger,) all desperate to find a TV to watch the World Cup Final.

There is also "Paprika" an anime which mixes a detective thriller with virtual psychotherapy.

Outside the festival I also have to find a way to see "Hot Fuzz" the new film from the folks who made "Shaun of the Dead." It's a cop buddy movie comedy again starring Simon Pegg.

Anyway, as always during Festival time I am keen to hear any thoughts people may have on what they have seen, and what they loved or hated.

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