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Movie Natters: March 25, 2009 Archive

Remarkable films at "Beyond Borders"

Posted at 6:30 AM on March 25, 2009 by Euan Kerr

One of the biggest challenges about the Beyond Borders Film Festival is the wealth of films it has packed into its five day run. What to choose?

Here are a couple of recommendations: Revanche Gotz Spielmann's story about a man who wants to help his girlfriend escape from the brothel where they both work is a beautifully made suspense-laden drama. Nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar, it's a thought-provoking piece about the consequences of plans gone awry, and the things people will do as they seek revenge. This is one of the best films I have seen in the last year.

Idiots and Angels springs from the mind of animator Bill Plympton, one of the few people still hand-drawing entire feature films. It's a tale of a selfish boor called Angel who hangs out all day in a seedy bar with a small cast of other outcasts. Angel's life gets a little complicated when contrary to his character, he sprouts wings. Plympton's mixture of surreal images dealing with boredom, anger, lust, and driving are both hilarious and chastening.

Big Man Japan The concept of the daily lives and tribulations of superheroes have been explored by Hollywood recently in "Hancock" and "Watchmen." Now we have a Japanese take on the issue with writer/director Hitoshi Matsumoto's depiction of a laconic guy called Masaru Daisatou. Many people mistake him for a street bum. However whenever monsters appear (an on-going problem apparently) he heads to the nearest power station for a massive jolt of electricity which transforms him into the giant Big Man Japan. He then wrestles the monster into submission, usually in a fight which wrecks a great deal of real estate. Matsumoto's story shows how Masaru Daisatou has to deal with his country's ambivalence about the superheroes. People regularly toss rocks through his windows. It's a low key tale, spiced with big battle scenes with bizarre monsters, and strange insights into the superhero life.

There are many more films to check out at the BBFF. The schedule is well worth a read.

March 2009
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