Different From Whom?

25 08 2011

The Closing Gala at the Queer Film Festival.  My, what a fantastic festival it’s been.  Although I didn’t see nearly as many films as last year, I was lucky enough to be on the Programming Committee and to hear people’s reactions and thoughts to the films that I helped pick out was a cool experience.

Here’s my final review for the festival.

Synopsis: a gay politician who subsequently becomes mayor of a town in Italy struggles to keep his professional relationship with his conservative deputy mayor and personal life with his husband working.

Super awesome things: it’s nice to come across a political film that doesn’t take itself seriously.  Despite the synopsis, the film is a comedy, with many outrageous scenes including when Piero and Adele — SPOILER ALERT — end up making out and having sex in a field where they are almost caught by Piero’s father.  The audience at the Queer Film Fest is already ready to laugh, and laugh they did.  Many, many loud, uproarious times when the audience just burst out into laughter.

I also quite like the tense relationship between Piero and Adele in the first third of the movie when they are veyr much in opposition of one another.  Very funny to watch them interact.

Going back to the point of politics, because the film is so heavily centered around politics and uses humor as a way to lighten the mood, I found that it made fun of the politics at times, skewering not just Italian politics but internationally as rigged from the beginning.  I quite enjoyed the satirical aspect of the film too.

Not so super awesome things:  Though the film takes advantage of humor and makes good use of it, certain scenes run into soap opera-territory, and a few times, I found myself in disbelief at what was happening — in a bad way.  I think of the scene in Bridesmaids where the girls are vomiting in the wedding dress store which is completely outrageous but is plausible.  But in Different, the laughs come as characters are outrageous themselves, screaming and keeping secrets from one another, with tons of dramatic irony only found in soaps.  Didn’t really dig that.

I don’t know about other people, but I found the whole plot with Piero and Adele a little contrived.  The whole gay-man-sleeps-with-straight-woman phenomenon is so cliche now that even though I saw it coming, I hoped it wouldn’t be the focus of the movie– but it was.  Instead of focusing on their political relationship, the film does a 180 after they start to get along (“Nooooo!” I was thinking), nearly abandoning anything to do with campaigns and speeches until the predictable “I am different” at the end.

And running at 102 minutes, the film feels twenty minutes too long, especially — SPOILER ALERT — with the whole baby plot.  What???

Good for watching: instead of your daily soaps on weekday afternoons.

Overall:  a good choice for the Closing Gala, I must say.  A nice little fluff piece that, although a theme is in there somewhere, is buried beneath craziness.  Makes me think of Patrik Age 1.5 which for some reason wasn’t included in this year’s festival and is superior to this film.

Grade: C+

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 10: Favourite foreign film

23 06 2011

I know Federico Fellini’s films can be kind of obscure and confusing(I definitely felt that way watching 8½).  I think La Dolce Vita is the first Fellini film I ever saw (or perhaps second), and I remember getting about halfway into the movie and thinking, “This is so damn good.”

It’s hard to describe why I like this film so much.  It could be because of the fantastic cinematography, the fascinating and colorful characters that Marcello meets, or the commentary of society’s obessession with celebrities and, well, the “sweet life”.  This film and Amarcord are my two favourite Fellini films.

Here’s the Trevi Fountain clip from the film: