Filmfest memories

Library staff have been remembering films from previous festivals:

When we were kings (1997 festival)
I bought tickets to this one for all my family in a fit of righteous movie mania and my brothers and in-laws and mother and sister, thankfully, enjoyed it. Muhammed Ali has bucket loads of carisma. There’s a witch doctor sub-plot, a govenment dictatorship and blood on the steps of the stadium, groovy music from James Brown and hope, sweet, hope. It didn’t seem to matter that we were in the back row in the old Embassy’s uncomfortable seats – we still talk about this film.

Ringu, (2000)
I saw [this film] (later remade by Hollywood as The Ring) at the festival before Japanese and Asian horror became huge, and all the decent ones got remade. It was the first horror film I had seen in a long time that actually scared me. I could not look at a TV set after dark for a long while after seeing this film.

Hana-bi (Fireworks) by Takeshi Kitano (1998)
Basically a Japanese cop film with surprising swings in mood. Takeshi Kitano drew the wonderful colour-spotted pictures that provide the hope and upside to what is often a brutal, tragic film. One of those seminal festival films for me in that it seemed to extend my idea of what film could do and so many things about it linger still – the music, the cinematography, the understated acting, the suprises – probably Kitano’s best.

Kung Fu Hustle (2005)
This Kung Fu concoction knocked me out one late, late winter’s night. Stephen Chow’s unevenly brash mixture of broad slapstick humour, brilliant stunts, CGI effects and a seemingly endless string of super humanly endowed villains sent me back to a childhood of similar movies. Similar, but in no way as good – Kung Fu Hustle made me feel like a Kung Fu kid again…

Helvetica (2007)
I sat in the theatre surrounded by Massey students watching this captivating film about a typeface. And not just any typeface – Helvetica was shown to be symbolic of its era, ubiquitous in government signage, and even possibly the cause of the Vietnam War (ok, they were stretching). I’ve never looked at typefaces the same way since seeing this film – it’s well worth watching.

Drowning by Numbers (1987)
Quirky and strange, but very entertaining, I saw this film amongst three others on the same day, as you do during the Festival. It really stood out with its cleverness and baudy humour: 3 women all named Cissie Colpitts drown their husbands. I liked it far more than Greenaway’s other films – in fact I bought the script months later (and no, it wasn’t just to find out where each of the numbers had been shown).

My Mother’s Smile – The Religion Hour
My favourite must have been in 2003 (when I was younger and everything seemed newer).  They had a film that had been banned by the Vatican called “My Mother’s Smile” a.k.a “The Religion Hour”. It was about an athiest who opposes the canonisation of his mother, who was killed by his mentally-disturbed brother.

What films would you recommend from filmfests past? Feel free to add them in the comments below…