IFF Boston 2007 – Day Three

April 28, 2007

In each life a little rain shall fall.

In 2006, the IFF Boston event was marred by rain, but it didn’t keep many people away. I guess it’s either the weather or the selection – of some other happenstance – but to me it seems like people are staying away from this year’s festival in droves.

Except for the ‘hurry-up-an-be-seen-with-the-Mayor’ lobby posturing of Thursday night, I have yet to see a really full theater. But this doesn’t mean that great films aren’t being show.

Last night I saw A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar with Shelley, Mike and Clownface. The theater was only half full, but it was probably the best film I’ve seen this year. Good pacing and solid storytelling kept this feature rolling along nicely. I gave it a 4 on my evaluation paper and spoke with one of the actors afterward.

If you’re interested, the fantastic car you see in the film – a Lamborghini – is really that actor’s car. And who says filmmakers don’t make money? Well, this actor/filmmaker is also a lawyer. Maybe it’s the $600 an hour billing that paid for the car.

Let’s now talk for a second about CRAP.

The other movie we saw was Hannah Takes the Stairs. One word…yuck.

The movie was preceded by a short that was called The Back of Her Head. It was a cute little film about unrequited affection and it was shot in an alley in Boston. Good concept, pretty good execution, and as light as a short should be – except for the death by couch incident.

But then the main feature gave us an endless circuit of weak acting, poor plot and a cast of people who failed to grip our imagination and a story that could have been told effectively in the time of a short.

Hannah swings from relationship to relationship in what could have been cute. But she does so in the same way we might in real life. Essentially, this film was almost like watching an acquaintance go through three relationships — and it took nearly the same amount of time to do so. Every conversation was captured, the endless agonizing break-up sequences were splatted on the screen, and the film was missing the energy I hoped to see at this year’s festival.

An overreaching comment I have about the feature films for 2007 is… THE FILMS ARE TOO SLOW AND TOO LONG.

By being selected to show a film in the IFF Boston, a filmmaker has been recognized for his/her excellence in storytelling and direction. But I think the jury or selection committee dropped the ball on a few occasions this year. There were a lot of meandering plot lines and films that went on 1/3 longer than they needed to.

I’m taking a deep breath and hoping Saturday brings better stuff.

More to come…