SIFF 2011 Day 04: Everett or Bust!

Monday, a holiday, found me taking mass transit to a whole different county for film festival screenings. I would have loved to take the Sounder train, but alas it does not run on holidays, and instead took a bus. It is actually a coach, and it only took 45 minutes from downtown Seattle. (I may one day write about my experience getting to downtown Seattle that morning, as that was an adventure all to itself.)
The first film (of three) was A Cat in Paris (Une vie de chat). The biggest disappointment of this film is that it was not in French. They’re in Paris, no? However, it seems that it is deemed a children’s film, and obviously children cannot read subtitles. The English dubbing wouldn’t be so bad if they hadn’t used such ridiculous accents. Each character was from somewhere else. I heard a few American accents, German, English, possibly Russian, etc. Why couldn’t they speak English with French accents? The animation is nice – no Pixar smoothness here. I dig the fluidity of the cat burglar’s movements as he makes impossible leaps and dodges in the night. There’s a nifty scene in the dark, rendered as white on black line drawings. The story resolved itself a bit too quickly for my taste, and some of the dialogue felt a wee bit contrived (perhaps the fault of the English translation). I really think you should see this in French, but if you just can’t wait (or don’t care) A Cat in Paris is playing again in Kirkland on 5 June and at the Egyptian on 11 June.
The second film was Page One: Inside the New York Times. Documentarian Andrew Rossi filmed a year inside the offices of the Times and gave us a glimpse of life on a newspaper. Interspersed between snippets of men at work (and it was mostly men) are interviews of members of other media outlets with their take on the State of Things at the paper and in media in general. It showed some interesting perspectives from inside the industry and gives the audience some things to chew on, should they choose to do so. In fact, one aspect of the commentary is that the American audience really doesn’t want to chew on things anymore. I hope this film can get people to stop and think about the future of journalism and what our relationship as a society will be, and what we want it to be. A lot of times we, collectively, don’t consider the ramifications of our actions or inaction, and then lament later the loss of things we had the power to retain. Times reporter Brian Stelter was on hand for a healthy Q&A following the screening. Page One is scheduled to be released in late June.
The third film was Simple Simon (I Rymden Finns Inga Känslor) from Sweden, a tale of a young man with Asperger’s syndrome figuring out love in the process of finding a new girlfriend for his brother. The Swedish title I believe means “in space there are no feelings” or something to that effect. It is a sentiment the title character expresses in the film, which is why he can often be found in a metal drum which he pretends is a spacecraft orbiting Earth. He doesn’t like change, so when his brother’s girlfriend leaves, he needs to find a new one to maintain the status quo. This proves to be quite awkward for all involved, with sometimes hilarious results. I actually chuckled out loud a couple times, this movie was that funny (I maintain virtual silence during almost all films in theatres). Simple Simon plays again at SIFF Cinema on 1 June.