Sunday, April 28, 2013

Day Two

Sofia's Last Ambulance
My first documentary of the festival, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lack of the usual talking head style in this film about an overworked ambulance crew in Bulgaria. The fly-on-the-dashboard approach is largely successful, and avoids Cops-style gawking by barely showing the patients at all (this seems likely to be a happy accident of avoiding legal entanglements). But this was overall a bit too minimal for me: we get only the faintest sense of the environment as the camera is usually looking back at the faces of one of three subjects, rather than out to the front window. So instead of talking heads we get often-silent heads. The fact that Sofia has so few ambulances does come through in the delays reported by dispatchers and patients, but the context for these facts on the ground is missing. Similar territory was treated with a more direct approach in one of my favorites SFIFF 55, The Waiting Room.

Much Ado About Nothing
For Joss Whedon fans only, I suspect, but a heck of a kick for those fans, this slapped-together adaptation pairs modern dress with the original dialogue. The comedy is broad but well done, and the production gets its fair share of meta-jokes in regarding such Shakespearean tropes as hiding behind a hedge. Nathan Fillion steals the show as a bungling policeman.

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