London Film Festival 2014 – Part 1

It seems like every year I’ve gone to LFF I don’t actually really talk about it until weeks and weeks later. Such is life. Luckily I keep my Letterboxd account updated and that helps me to remember. I think the only thing I’m hazy on are a few of the shorts that I saw. Onwards. There’s going to be spoilers (probably). There’s… going to be more than one part to this report on LFF.

  1. Björk: Biophilia Live – I think that on the day I went to see this I had been really busy during the day because I know that somehow I manage to always schedule the sonic stream films for times when I know my brain will have no processing power at all. Biophilia was DELIGHTFUL. It’s basically just a recording of one of the gigs that she did on her Biophilia tour at Alexandra Palace. ANYWAY Björk is super cute and delightful as always and the Icelandic choir she has along with her are awesome.
  2. The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga – This is a film that kind of has two parallel strands running all the way through. One is the animated story of the witch Baba Yaga – and the animation is such (and the narration of this part) that this part of the film feels like a bedtime story told to a child by their parent or grandparent. The other inter-weaved part of the story is kind a meditation on life and nature and stuff in Eastern Europe.
    As the dialogue is entirely in Polish and Russian, I’m curious as to how well the subtitles translate what’s being said – the film is very poetic and the nature of translation means that there can be a clash between precisely translating meaning literally or giving a better feeling for the mood of the words.
  3. Métamorphoses – This is basically a retelling of some of the stories in Ovid’s Metamorphoses set in modern day France. I wasn’t paying attention when I booked this one so it was unexpectedly in French but I was paying attention to the bit where it said it was based on Ovid’s work so there was pretty much the amount of people and gods getting it on that I was expecting.

    Only with more full frontal male nudity.

    That was unexpected.

    I did enjoy the translation of the classic stories into a more modern setting though and Jupiter is exactly as I would have thought.

  4. The Drop – THE DROP. THE DROP WAS DELIGHTFUL. WELL. I think it has gotten more delightful the further away I get from seeing it but at its heart, The Drop is a solid and satisfying film with a cute dog. And before I get into the slightly spoilierish bit of my wittering, though the dog gets introduced as having been left beaten up in a rubbish bin, things only get better for the dog after that and nothing bad happens to him.
    Now onto the slightly spoilery thing – I really liked the bits where Bob went to Mass. This might just be my love of Roman Catholic things showing up in films, but I liked how that impacted on the story and signposted something of what was to come (which is the spoilery bit). It’s a bit like an Easter egg for people who know about the Catholic scene. The thing is that Bob (Tom Hardy’s character) and the police detective both attend weekday Mass every day – you can tell it’s a weekday Mass because like… no one is there (on a Sunday the church would have a lot more people) and Bob does not go to receive the Eucharist with everyone else. Later on the detective even comments on it. Now the thing is, I sat there in the cinema thinking pretty much what the detective would probably have been thinking – “what has Bob done in his life that means that he regards himself as unable to receive Communion?” Usually? Everyone goes, so long as they are Catholic and have made their First Holy Communion. Anyone else who wants to, can receive a blessing. Bob does none of these things and this combined with the fact that he is there at all on a weekday points towards him having done something pretty bad in the eyes of the Church in the past (and in the context of the film it didn’t seem very likely that he gotten divorced and remarried, which is one of the things that might make an observant Catholic feel unable to receive Communion). Up until this point in the film, Bob seems like a quiet, gentle guy and you kind of think that the film is about James Gandolfini’s character Marv, who seems to kind of push Bob around, and the stuff going on in his life. But Bob has clearly done something very wrong in the past and the film hints at it with this thing in the Church and then reminds/informs us of it again when Marv warns someone not to underestimate Bob. It’s there that you start to see that Bob allows Marv to push him around a bit and tell him what to do – to allow Marv to continue to partially relive his former glory days. Bob is not necessarily what he appears to be and even though he is Marv’s cousin and is undoubtedly loyal to Marv, you do get the sense that sometimes Marv looks at Bob and is wary of him. Then there is the reveal and it all makes sense and it terribly satisfying and everyone should see it.

Ok. I think… I’m going to stop there and do the rest of the films another time.

Author: Rachel

half-girl, half-robot

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