After 20 films, all comprising a bovine blob, sloshing simultaneously in my beleaguered brain, recognizing a need for a stimulus-free void to synthesize, analyze, masticate and separate the mediocre from the sublime; arriving home to the Academy Award nominations, exhausted, exhilarated, energized by the electric, enticing, exciting, imaginative world of cinema, knowing its ubiquity will never cease to overwhelm and protect me from minor irritants and major vicissitudes of daily dawns and dusks; I am happy to be home, cocooned in my tidy office and peaceful domicile.
The Palm Springs Film Festival is in excellent health; with a plethora of meaty choices from around the globe; it’s to be applauded for its creative and innovative fare. Imbibing in only a sliver of what was offered, I selected films, many independent, from young filmmakers around the world, some that will not see distributorship. Commencing with the opening film from Spain “Blancanieves” Director Pablo Berger’s, silent, black and white version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”; the first hour was mesmerizing, compelling; magnificent score and remarkable, beautiful actors, but ambition trounced and sabotaged what could have been a classic film noir; sunk into a morass of predictability and sensationalism. Sad, but Burger is young, an idealist, immensely talented; a visionary not to lose sight of.
At the risk of exsanguination and hosting upon you twenty reviews I will stress a few that should not be missed (the others reviewed when and if they are released). My pivotal three are:
“The Third Half” (Macedonia). Director Darko Mitrevski creates a glorious scenario of love, bravery, fortitude based upon an inconceivable survival and Jewish persecution in WWII, Macedonia. A true tale about a woman for all ages, all eras; all flew to their feet at the conclusion of this jewel of inspiration and brilliance.
“Touch of the Light” (Taiwan/Hong Kong). Huang Yu-Siang plays himself, a blind, eighteen-year-old piano prodigy, trying to live in a sighted, university world; stunningly genuine, enchanting relationships, people rising from the ashes of the ordinary, attaining the extraordinary.
“Caesar Must Die” (Italy) Shakespeare’s iconic play “Julius Caesar” is astoundingly performed by inmates in a Roman jail; stratospheric interpretations and staging put this film in a category still undefined, unmatched.
It is doubtful that I will ever venture to another film festival with the same addictive intensity (outside of Chicago) but the flavors of the desert will be savored, harbored comfortably in the archives of magical movie memories.