[Extra! Bonus! Films!]

Films I missed the first ten minutes of since they were during a volunteer shift (I almost never choose to go into movies on shift for this reason):

* Secrets of the Tribe, which I would like to seek out at some point to see properly. It’s a documentary on the various studies of the Yanomami Indian tribe, though the title really refers to the tribe of academics who studied them, full of their own secrets, customs, and loyalties. It’s flat-out horrifying to be honest; research of indigenous people is an arena fraught with obvious complications as it is, but these teams almost seemed to go out of their way to do everything wrong, from your basic stupid white person trick of influencing a society through well-intentioned gifts, to the far extreme of disease introduction and of course, sexual abuse.

* Mother Joan of the Angels, which somehow managed to make demonic possession of nuns… boring. Amazing, right? It was so tedious, that I seriously considered not seeing the film after it, a noir by the same director that I had an actual ticket for. I just read that it was banned by the Catholic Church, which figures.

This is also probably the best entry in which to note that this day was one of the weirdest in general at the festival so far. First, about 15 minutes into the documentary, the alarm went off and we had to evacuate the theater. Apparently someone burned something in a kitchen somewhere else in McCaw. Second, the last two films of the night, the Polish double feature as it were, had been scheduled as digital restorations, but when the package arrived meant to contain the hard drive, it was found to contain… strawberry jam. So they had to screen DVDs instead. See? Weird.

[Bran Nue Dae for Night Train]

* Bran Nue Dae is based on the 90s Australian musical about an aboriginal boy in the late 60s. He’s been attending boarding school with the eventual goal of becoming a priest, but he changes his mind for a few excellent reasons, and runs away, landing in a road movie as he tries to get home.

It’s pretty goofy (especially the final 10 minutes) but it has a huge heart, and I quite enjoyed it. (Also, days later I am still singing about how there is nothing I would rather be than to be an Aborigine. So there’s that.)

I couldn’t help but think, though, especially as the credits rolled by with lists of the various stage production casts, that if a similar film had been made in the States, the producers would have had a serious conversation about casting a white guy with a tan in the lead. And then they probably would have done it. Taylor Lautner, I’m looking at you.

* Night Train was the second half of a Jerzy Kawalerowicz double feature, and one I almost skipped out on because I was so bored by the one about possessed nuns. Thanks to the fact that I am painfully cheap I opted to give it a chance, and I am glad I did. It’s a Polish noir set almost entirely on an overbooked overnight train to the seaside. The cast of characters is great, all your noir staples of mysterious men and blonde bombshells eyeing each other with suspicion, flirtation, or both, and among it all trying to guess if one in their number might be an escaped murderer. It was totally entertaining, and would not at all have been out of place as a Noir City selection.

(Yes, the title of this post is a cheap Truffaut reference. I couldn’t help it. I apologize!)