You Gotta Have FAIF

Two film fests hit Downtown Disney last week—but where were you?

The makers of the marching-band documentary From the 50-Yard Line actually got a marching band to show up to the festival and perform outside, working the crowd and selling tickets like crazy. Me, I went to see a French movie about domestic violence instead. J.G. Biggs' Pleure en Silence is introduced in the present day in color, with a young woman named Ida Beaussart recalling her (black-and-white) childhood, especially the time when her older sister Kristina left home, sending their abusive father into a state of constant rage. Lest there be any ambiguity over the father's character, he has a framed picture of Hitler on the wall that he makes all his daughters "Sieg heil" to every morning, after which they sometimes transcribe passages from Mein Kampf.

From this point on, Dad smacks Ida repeatedly at the dinner table. If Mom chimes in, she gets smacked. Ida wets her pants. Ida sniffs glue. Ida's sister Francoise, who is Daddy's girl, beats and berates Ida, sometimes at Dad's encouragement. Dad smacks Ida and Mom some more. The performances are solid here, but the smacking is so frequent, unmotivated and so exaggerated with sound effects that it feels like Moe from the Three Stooges wrote the script.

At the awards ceremony, held at the Hotel Menage, Best in Fest deservedly went to Bob Gebert's 11 Minutes Ago, one of the most creative and smart movies I've seen this year, and it was all shot in one day. A young man named Pack (Ian Michaels) arrives at a wedding party in 2004, having apparently gone back in time 48 years to get a sample of the atmosphere. His time jumps can only last 11 minutes, or he'll be stuck in the past. Even though he figures he'll only need to make one trip, he finds that when he arrives in the past, everyone already knows him. And when a beautiful woman kisses him, well . . . he just has to make the jump again to find out how that happened. So initially, we're thinking Memento—the first couple of scenes are in reverse chronological order as far as the wedding goes, though they're in linear order from Pack's perspective. However, things don't stay that linear, as the time jumps become irregular, with some in order, some not.

Morgan Freeman was supposed to show up at the ceremony to receive a special award. No one was too surprised when he not only didn't show, but also wasn't even mentioned.

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