Monday, May 6, 2013

Day Eight

Prince Avalanche
David Gordon Green's buddy movie starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch is mostly just what that sounds like. We find the pair repainting a strip of road after a wildfire has blazed through the area. Green revealed in the Q&A that he first set out to make the movie in this location (in Texas), and only later found the Icelandic film on which his script is based. And the location shooting is beautiful, pulled off by his usual cinematographer Tim Orr.

The non-visual part of the film is for the most part much less interesting: dudes are worried about women, yell at each other, get drunk, sing a song, feel better. Still, a few scenes, such as one featuring a real-life victim of the fire sifting through the remains of her home, or a few shots of children by the side of the road, remind us why Green was once so loved in the American indie circuit.

Rent a Family Inc.
This Danish documentary about a Japanese man who rents himself and his employees out as stand-in family members and friends to clients (such as those wanting to save face at their wedding) is awkwardly split between two stories, one about the business and one about the man's own family life (which is seriously troubled). Though the former seems to comment on the latter, I couldn't get away from my misgivings about the ethics of the documentarian. The man's family was unaware of his business and so was not given the real reason for them being part of a documentary, and though his wife now knows, the family has not even seen the film (he has, but did not want them to see it). The director, during the Q&A, put the onus of responsibility for these decisions on his subject. But I'd expect the guy with the camera to take a broader view of ethics than whatever his main subject thinks is right.

The rent-a-family business is surely a fascinating topic, but this treatment left me feeling dirty.

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