Look at the time, it’s SIFF o’clock! Between graduating, crying over this year’s Met Gala theme, and general adulting it almost slipped my mind. For the sake of length I am not going to include anything past 1900 and be forewarned, some of these summaries have spoilers on the SIFF site. (spoiler warnings aren’t needed for film fests?)
Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil, Spain: In the 19th-century Basque countryside the stories of an orphaned girl looking for her doll’s head and a government official looking for missing gold payments intertwine in a blacksmith’s sinister workshop. Dark and moody, evokes the feelings of gothic literature.
Gaugain, France: Biopic about the post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin. Stories about white Europeans discovering themselves in “primitive” countries are not my favorite and I don’t like the overt colonial tones in primitivism works so pass.
Giant, Spain: Based on a true story, it’s set in the early 19th century about a poor young man sent to fight in the first Carlist War. When he comes back he discovers his brother has become a giant, so he joins the circus as an attraction. Bleak and weary, I’m noticing a trend here.
Hagazussa, Germany: The Vvitch, 15th-century Austrian countryside edition! When a young girl’s mother passes away she leads a hard life leading to her having a child out of wedlock. After being ostracised by her village she befriends a mysterious woman who leads her down a nightmarish path. Again, I am a fool for thinking there would be enough color that I could actually see what’s happening on screen.
Mademoiselle Paradis, Germany: Rococo period piece based on the true story of blind pianist Maria Theresia von Paradis who was popular for her beautiful musical compositions. Her parents take her to see a physician who tries experimental procedures to restore her sight. The summary noted the attention to detail and costumes, which from the brief shots in the trailer look lush. The first film here that has more than earth tones and doesn’t look like it was shot on an overcast day. I’ll have to see more stills but it looks promising on that front.
The Bottomless Bag, Russia: A Russian tale inspired by the Japanese Rashamon. A lady-in-waiting in the Czar’s court tells a story set in the 13th century. While aesthetically poetic, the trailer seems too esoteric for me and the summary was equally vague. Pass!
The Sower, France: Set in the 1850’s, the coup d’état that dissolved the French National Assembly has men arrested and hundreds of women find themselves alone. Violette and a group of these other women move to the alps to start their lives anew. Since there are no men in the village they agree that the next man to pass by will be used to “repopulate” the village. One day a man appears and the close-knit village falls apart as Violette falls in love with him and tensions rise amongst the women.
Overall there are more period pieces and a good mix of pre- and post-20th century. The only diverse films are the Gaugain biopic and a movie about an Australian Aboriginal rancher. On the other hand, there aren’t any movies about slavery, poc suffering endlessly, and there is only one WWII movie. What I dislike the most about this batch is the unspoken ban against color and being able to see what’s happening on screen. None of these movies, or any others in the festival, have interested me enough to want to see them so hopefully, they’ll show up on Netflix eventually.