Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Miscellaneous Film Festival Shorts…

These are various and sundry short films I saw during the 1997 Seattle International Film Festival. These were generally screened before the main features.

America the Beautiful seems to exist mainly to annoy right-wing politicians. Two men are locked in a kiss for the duration of the title song. (Seen 8 June 1997)

Angry Boy provides a cathartic experience for anyone who spends a lot of time in movie theaters. Have you ever picked an isolated seat only to find yourself eventually surrounded by every noisy boor in the local region? If so, you can relate to this. (Seen 24 May 1997)

Jimmy Walks Away is a brief (but not brief enough) set of vignettes involving a large, obnoxious and possibly dangerous man. (Seen 22 May 1997)

The Latest News, like 78, is a brief, one-joke film. Within that limit, it is much more cleverly done. Set in Stockholm, finds to her chagrin that the radio newscast to which she is listening is somewhat ahead of the curve. (Seen 7 June 1997)

Legs is a montage of 90 pairs of legs of varying age and physical condition. Hypnotic and strangely a bit disturbing. (Seen 17 May 1997)

Noodles & Nedd is a cartoon about a man and his cat. (I actually thought it was a large rat until I read the program notes.) My question is: why can the cat fry an egg for its master but can’t open its own can of food? (Seen 25 May 1997)

Portland recounts a misguided visit to Portland by a group of young people who set off on a raucus adventure that has its ups and downs. It is very amusing, and if you’re not young anymore this will make you glad of the fact. (Seen 16 May 1997)

78 is just long enough to get off one joke, but it’s one that’s funny enough to justify its 3.5-minute running time. (Seen 23 May 1997)

Spendrift follows a couple of English street lads for ten perplexing minutes. It’s like a collection of snippets left over form a film that actually made sense. (Seen 26 May 1997)

The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage is a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the 1969 Sam Peckinpah classic. Making use of recently discovered footage, this is a fascinating look at the way Hollywood epics used to be made. (Seen 17 May 1997)

Best of Erotic Tales II

This midnight program allegedly consisted of the better half of six shorts that were shown during two separate evening programs. All I can say is, I feel no particular desire to see the other three. Maybe it’s just me, but only one of these struck me as even partially erotic. (Seen 8 June 1997)

Hotel Paradise was directed by Nicolas Roeg, who did something truly erotic in 1973’s Don’t Look Now. This short, however, inevitably features his wife, Theresa Russell, who is paired with Vincent D’Onofrio. Russell is a bride-to-be who wakes up on the day of her wedding handcuffed to a bed in a hotel with a stranger lying beside her. There is a lot of talking that doesn’t get interesting until the end. Unfortunately, the last bit was drowned out by hisses and boos.

Devilish Education is clearly the best of this lot. There is just something about a nubile farm girl enjoying the pleasures of nature in an isolated field. A mysterious, experienced man appears and begins tutoring her in the ways of the world. It has the feeling of an adolescent daydream and captures well the sense of awakening sexuality. In Polish, it was directed by Janusz Majewski.

Sambólico could just as well have been called White Orpheus. The nighttime wanderings through Rio de Janeiro recall Marcel Camus’s 1959 classic Black Orpheus excpet that it is not nearly as compelling and it is a Finnish guy we are following. There are also nods to On the Waterfront and The Crying Game, which only serve to remind us how much better those films were. Mika Kaurismaki directed.