This past week David and I attended the Traverse City Film Festival in Traverse City (of course), Michigan. I was very impressed with the city itself: friendly beaches, fun downtown streets, loads of cafes and restaurants, and the lake. The gorgeous, blue lake. We had some great meals and saw nine films. Here they are in chronological order:
I, Daniel Blake: one of my favorites, an English film about the difficulties of the working poor to get unemployment benefits, health insurance, a decent job. The acting was superb, the plot very moving. I recommend it.
The Salesman: an excellent Iranian film by the director of A Separation, this is David's favorite. Another terrific acting job with thriller qualities about a couple of actors who suffer a big trauma. The wife is attacked in her own apartment and the husband is obsessed with finding out who did it, more for him than for her I believe.
Things to come: a French film with Isabelle Huppert about the passing of life and the coming of death. I think of it as a film about nothing but still enjoyed it. David liked Huppert.
The Distinguished Citizen: an Argentine film about a writer who hasn't lived in Argentina for forty years but writes about his hometown. One day he decides to return when he's invited and all hell breaks loose. Funny and tragic.
Afterimage: a Polish film about the painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski directed by Andrzej Wajda (his last film). I liked it a lot because I enjoy history and, especially that time of history in Europe - the 1950s. There are some unbelievably sad scenes like when the painter licks a plate of soup after the landlady has thrown the soup into the pot because he can't pay. Hunger is the saddest thing.
Cause of death: unknown: a documentary by a Norwegian filmmaker about her sister who died from use of antipsychotic drugs. This is a powerful critique of the pharma industry, their methods, their lack of integrity, and their love of profit. I highly recommend it.
The Young Karl Marx: a German-Belgian-French co-production about the early years of Marx when he met Engels culminating with the writing of the Communist Manifesto. I enjoyed the biographical nature of this film. Very well acted.
The Hippopotamus: an English comedy about a famous poet who goes on a quest to find out if a young man in the country is really a miracle-worker. Very funny. Good lines.
At the end of the tunnel: an Argentine film about a group of people who dig a tunnel to a bank vault next door to a house occupied by a paralyzed man who likes to tinker with computers. Not for the faint of heart.