I’m working all week as

I’m working all week as a technician on the Atlantic Film Festival. My duties include sitting in the Oxford Theatre every night and watching the films. I know, it’s a real drag.

This is the third year in a row I’ve worked on the film festival. In this one week, I will watch more movies than I’ll see in the whole rest of the year. After a while it gets hard to keep track of so many movies. As the week goes along, I’ve been writing little blurbs to help me remember what I’ve seen.

Bowling For Columbine I never expected Michael Moore himself to come shuffling into the Oxford Theatre in his little baseball cap. He’s exactly the same in real life as he is in the movies. He spoke for 45 minutes, much to the chagrin of the Dalhousie students who were lined up outside waiting to see Silence of the Lambs. This is the best film of his that I’ve seen.
Suicide Watch: A quick, unsettling montage featuring very graphic footage of people blowing their heads off with guns.
Microphone Watch: During one of Charlton Heston’s speeches, I distinctly heard the microphone ringing at around 400Hz.
Neat-and-tidy Hollywood ending: no.

Emil and the Detectives Kid’s movie set in Berlin. Two quick whistles and all these kids come out of an alley one by one and dance down the street. There’s a part where all the kids do a rap song. Emil has a single dad who says, “I’m sorry, but we just can’t afford it right now.” The kids catch an evil jewel thief who carries a red case.
Suicide Watch: Nobody tries to kill himself in this delightful romp.
Microphone Watch: I wasn’t watching that closely.
Neat and tidy: yes.

Sunshine State Angela Bassett looks hot. A movie about capitalism attacking the old way of life in Florida. It’s long and there are tons of characters but it’s well done.
Suicide Watch: A guy keeps trying to do himself in, but he never pulls it off and we laugh at him.
Microphone Watch: Standard film cliche: woman steps up to the podium and says “check one two” and the microphone feeds back for a second at 2 kilohertz. Then she resumes talking without sonic incident.
Neat and tidy: no.

Human Nature Patricia Arquette runs around in the woods naked… except she’s covered with hair.
Two women up the row from me spent the whole movie making out, which was good for the times when the movie got too silly.
Suicide Watch: Patricia holds a razor blade to her wrist in the bathtub, and then she sees a cute little mouse and realizes it’s OK to be furry.
Microphone Watch: A congressional hearing with a room full of brand-new, gleaming Shure SM-57s. Dozens and dozens of them. It is a truly breathtaking sight.
Neat and tidy: yes, except Patricia winds up in jail.

Regina Kid’s movie set in Reykjavik. All these people come out of an alley one by one and dance down the street. There’s a part where the kids do a rap song. Regina has a single mom who says, “I’m sorry honey, but we just can’t afford it right now.” The kids catch an evil jewel thief who carries a black-and-silver case.
Suicide Watch: Lonely old man sits on the edge of his bed. “Who’s going to care if I die?” Cupful of sleeping pills sits ominously on the bedside table.
Also: “If all the kids were jumping off a bridge, would you want to do that too?”
Microphone Watch: Sennheiser 441 with a big grey pop filter. “It’s time for the talent show!”
Neat and tidy: yes.

Divine Intervention Palestinian story of love and hate. Repetition of mundane conflicts between neighbours in Nazareth; slow escalation towards violence. Long stretches of seemingly very little happening with sudden explosions of fantasy. One of those films where people stand in the lobby afterwards going, “I didn’t get it.” My favourite movie of the festival so far.
Suicide Watch: A woman steps in front of a bunch of machine-gun fire, but it turns out she’s a Palestinian ninja who knows exactly what she’s doing.
Microphone Watch: Megaphone at the checkpoint was as close as it got.
Neat and tidy: no.

Amnesia I liked this film about twin brothers with a dark past. It was intense. “I’m supposed to be introducing this movie Amnesia,” Ron Foley Macdonald said to me beforehand, “but the funny thing is, I can’t remember anything about it.” Then he went up in front of the audience and said into the microphone, “I’m here to introduce Amnesia, except I can’t seem to remember anything about it.”
Suicide Watch: There is at least one suicide and possibly two. Also, there’s a guy with a gunshot wound who keeps refusing to go to the doctor. That’s not so smart.
Microphone Watch: none.
Neat and tidy: yes.

Enlightenment Guaranteed Two dorky German brothers get lost in Tokyo and wind up in a monastery. This movie made me scared shitless to ever go to Tokyo.
Suicide Watch: “I want to die.”
“Who doesn’t.”
“I’m going to kill myself.”
“Oh, no you’re not.”
“Yes I am! …Out the window!”
Microphone Watch: Woman at the German bar in Tokyo running around with a wireless mic. “It’s time for the talent show!”
Neat and tidy: no.

Little Otik A couple pretends a tree stump is a baby and then it comes alive and starts eating people. The entire story is revealed halfway through the movie, so the last hour just feels like a punishment.
My favourite part was the Inferno animated TV ad. “Inferno! The iron that irons by itself. Everything else is a piece of worthless junk.”
Suicide Watch: none.
Microphone Watch: none.
Neat and tidy: yes.

Ma femme est une actrice Romantic “comedy” featuring a very jealous guy and his beautiful famous wife. He’s the kind of guy I make fun of on my website. I cringed through the whole film.
Suicide Watch: Thought about it, but went out and walked around in the lobby instead.
Microphone Watch: Boom mic being carried around a film set by a naked guy.
Neat and tidy: yes.

Quitting The moral, which I agree with: if you listen to the Beatles, you deserve to wind up in a Chinese mental hospital.
Suicide Watch: Main character’s best friend’s girlfriend jumped off a building. “You remember my girlfriend? She’s dead.”
Microphone Watch: Vocal mic during quick shot of live rock band. Couldn’t get a make on it.
Neat and tidy: some resolution, but basically open-ended.