Monday, 27 April 2009

Critical Week: If you go out in the woods...

It was a very odd week for screenings, as I saw a hodgepodge of mismatched films, none of which could even remotely be described as mainstream. The two with the broadest appeal were British indies: Summer Scars (pictured) is a strikingly well-made thriller about teens being menaced by a stranger in the woods (kind of the inverse plot of last year's Eden Lake), and Dogging: A Love Story is a surprisingly sweet romance set amongst people who like to have sex in public (although most sex is oddly off-screen).

Then there were two docs: Sleep Furiously is a lushly shot but extremely elusive little film about the vanishing way of life in rural Wales, and Blind Loves is a fascinating combination of documentary, fiction and fantasy recounting four love stories between blind or partially sighted people in Slovakia. I also caught a bunch of older things that are coming out on DVD (or in very limited release): the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning cleverly covers the early voguing movement in Harlem, and Pasolini's Trilogy of Life adapts three collections of medieval stories into lively, energetic, provocative films - the raucous The Dameron (1970), the wacky The Canterbury Tales (1972) and the seductive Arabian Nights (1974).

This week's offerings include a couple of films that are only having one press screening - which is too late for my print outlets: Hugh Jackman is back in the prequel X-men Origins: Wolverine, and Matthew McConaughey stars in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. I've also got Robin Wright Penn in Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, the Mexican drama I'm Going to Explode, the Japanese drama Funuke, the fishing doc The End of the Line and a restoration of Godard's Pierrot le Fou.

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