Tuesday, August 05, 2014

GIFF 2014 Wrap-Up

Already looking forward to GIFF 2015? Turkey will be the invited country.

                                                     NExt year's featured country, Turkey;
                                                     a land of coastlines and waterways
                                                     but mostly as dry as our part of Mexico

This year I went to feature-length films::

          Poland: Ida: an unforgettable film deliberately made in black and white
          Mexican debut films: Los Angeles, Todos Estan Muertos
               (the prizewinner for Best Mexcan debut film) Afterward I learned why the verb estar is used.                        [state of being, even for dead people]. 
         Documentary about the Huichol artist, Santos de la torre
         Australian documentary: 52 Weeks
         Documentary about Roger Corman's work

        At the Sunday showing of prizewinners, I saw a powerful short demonstrating the change Alzheimer's           wreaks.(a man in his sixties marries a showgirl; she is the one who suffers the disease). The first half,      handheld hlack&white, the second, recent half professionally shot in color with voiceover.     .
I returned to the Auditorio del Estado to hear 87-year old Hollywood veteran producer-director Roger Corman speak. You could say he pulled back the curtain revealing film-making in all its complexity. His first week working as a newly graduated Stanford engineer, he decided he would follow his muse--movies. So began his sixty-year long career directing and producing. He and his wife seprately still produce films....

B movies, also known as exploitation movies, refer to the same kind of film--lots of action, little characterization. Often they succeeded in being what they set out to be, but my take on his version of Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of the Red Death, is that sometimes a thousand words are worth more than a movie. In Guanajuato, two of the Poe cycle were shown in the cemetery just before midnight,. 

Corman explained that the subtext is as important as the words of the script. Part of his success stems from recognizing trends in pop culture like motorcycle gangs and drugs. (He anticipated Easy Rider, but in a typical Hollywood twist, did not get the contract.) 

The one time Corman moved into A grade movies--with The Intruder, a hard-hitting film about racial attitudes and mob behavior--critics praised it (you can check out reviews at www.imdb.com). Unfortunately,t the audience stayed away. For the rest of his life, Corman made B movies. Woody Allen had even worse luck when he made his serious film Interiors.

After the formal interview with Corman ended, two dozen members audience members asked about his techniques, his relations within Hollywood, film-making decisions and more.. Corman answered each carefully, never showing his years.