Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day Seven

Featured review of the day: Man On Wire

The Order of Myths

Documentary about Mobile, Alabama's dual Mardi Gras celebrations - one for whites and one for blacks.

Okay, well, first things first, I'm frantically writing these reviews before the 2009 festival begins, so forgive me if I'm hazy on the details. I thought this was an excellent film and I'm sad that it doesn't look like it'll be getting a theatrical release in the UK. Directed by Margaret Brown (who I met in the FilmHouse - she was lovely), the film details the build-up to the parallel events organized by the Caucasians' Mobile Carnival Association (MCA) and the African-Americans' Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMBGA), both of which involve crowning a king and queen, holding parties, and staging elaborate parades on the same day. However, there are massive differences - the white king and queen essentially inherit their positions due to their lineage, whereas the black king and queen (both schoolteachers) are chosen by their communities. The rather depressing fact is that the dual events constitute a sort of accepted racism (or at least segregation), although one of the pleasures of the film involves white queen Helan Meaher (pictured) having her eyes opened (perhaps as a result of the film, though this is never made clear) and the scene where the black king and queen are invited to attend the white celebration FOR THE FIRST TIME can be seen as something of a step forward. (It would be interesting to know if that was repeated the following year, without the cameras around). Other highlights: Black queen Stephanie realising that Meaher's family probably owned the slave ships that brought her people to America in the first place. Three stars. I also met Meaher (bumped into her on the way to the FilmHouse after seeing a different film) and had one of those weird moments where I thought she was someone I knew, till I realised.

A Film With Me In It

Black comedy starring Dylan Moran.

I'm afraid I remember next to nothing about this one except a) it wasn't that funny, b) it was quite dark and nasty in places and c) I voted with my eyes (i.e. fell asleep) at least once. Directed by Mark Doherty (who also stars), it's basically about a down-on-his-luck actor having A Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day and he's eventually surrounded by dead bodies and only has his disabled brother David (played by Doherty's actual brother David) and his drunken best friend Pearce (Dylan Moran) to help him. I do remember being quite impressed by the darkness of the ending and there were one or two laugh-out-loud moments, but I'm mystified by the glowing reviews this has received elsewhere. Two stars.

Okay, this is kind of cheating, but time constraints have forced me into it...

Surprise Film: The Rocker

My ViewLondon review of The Rocker

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