Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day Four

Stories We Tell
Director/subject Sarah Polley's first foray into documentary filmmaking succeeds both as an engrossing narrative of a complicated family and as a rumination on the ethics and metaphysics of storytelling. It begins innocently enough as a remembrance of Polley's late mother among her father and siblings, but the story branches off from there to delve into the marriage, its troubles, and what the various players made of them.

There's quite a bit of trickery at play: not everything is what it seems, and certain juicy tidbits are withheld for dramatic effect, but this serves to heighten the meta-discussion of how we experience the past. My favorite of the festival so far.

Something in the Air
Olivier Assayas's newest film is something of a lark: revolutionary well-to-do high school students in 1971 France bum around, trying to decide if they really care more about liberation or getting laid. The politics end up taking a back seat, both in the narrative (which is a character-driven exercise in teenage angst) and for the characters themselves as they figure out what to do with themselves after summer vacation's over. Study painting in Afghanistan? Enroll in a dance program at Juilliard?

None of this is to say the film is wrong for stressing the personal over the political, especially at such an age. And it does raise good questions about what's changed, and what hasn't, between then and now. But the characters' ability to disconnect themselves from any material worries in the world they're nominally fighting to overthrow suggests that the movie is more cynical than its title may make it appear.

No comments: