* Paulista, a Brazilian film about a collection of folks living in the same building in São Paulo never really clicked for me. It was fine. I gave it a 3 out of 5 at the time, but I can’t remember anything about it less than a month later. So it goes.
* Eyes Wide Open is the film I was probably most excited about seeing, and was definitely the best film I saw at the festival. In an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem, butcher Aaron extends a kindness to newcomer Ezri, giving him a job and a place to stay. This being the film festival it is, there’s no question where their relationship will end up, of course, but it makes its way there truthfully. A beautiful, internal film from director Haim Tabakman (first feature) and first time screenwriter Merav Doster, it conveys the pain of not fitting into such a restrictive community while still respecting the desire for the benefits of such a society. I look forward to future projects from them both.
* Rufus Wainwright: Prima Donna describes the creation and production of Wainwright’s first opera in the standard documentary format, but was satisfying all the same. It’s worth seeing for fans of Wainwright, of course, but also for anyone interested in music, opera, or the creative process in general. It’s always a joy to see people with a passion for their task at work.
* The Purple Sea suffered unfairly in presentation: there were problems with the sound (that kept resolving themselves just as I resolved to go out and speak to someone, only to return later), and the audience was ridiculous, in particular several people playing with phones throughout drove me crazy. Cut that shit out, people! The film itself is an Italian melodrama, beautiful ladies in love in a town full of dark secrets. It’s a throwback sort of lesbian story in a lot of ways, with the twist that eventually one of the ladies is declared to be male. The way that the new gender presentation plays out both in the town and within the relationship made it worth watching.
* I volunteered at the closing night film, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, and was lucky enough to be able to see it. I regret not being able to see The Real Anne Lister earlier in the week. It was a documentary on Lister and her diaries, both on cracking the code of them and also on the content, and would I think have enriched the experience of the film.
The Secret Diaries was a BBC television costume drama rather than a theatrical film, but it was still absorbing watching a character so full of certainty as to who she was and what she wanted. She had no doubt as to the life she deserved, and was lucky enough to be in a financial position to make it happen for herself. Lister was a Yorkshire heiress in the early 19th century, and the film focuses largely on her unhappy early relationship with the married Marianne. I would have liked to know more about her later relationship, her travels, and her business, so now I definitely need to seek out the documentary.