First was "Shooting Dogs", a film about the genocide in Rwanda. It's based on a true story about a college in Rwanda that was housing a number of UN "Peacekeeping" troops when the Hutus started killing the Tutsis. Many Tutsi in the area sought refuge on the school grounds. It's a story that's similar to "Hotel Rwanda" and just as affecting. Unlike Hotel Rwanda, the main characters in this story are white, which may make it more accessible to a white audience but is also a downfall. The school is run by a priest played by John Hurt, who has been in Africa for years. Also present is a teacher who is staying for just one year, Hugh Dancy. I thought both men gave really good performances and the film effectively shows the brutality of the genocide the lack of response by the U.N. or the U.S. It was really heartbreaking.
Next I saw "Souls of Naples", the only film in the festival that I saw but didn't enjoy. It's a documentary about the people of Naples. I've been to Naples, though didn't spend much time in the city itself, which is why I wanted to see the film. There are small interviews with many residents and you do get a picture of city with a great disparity. There are super rich people and there are super poor people, but there doesn't seem to be much in the middle. The cinematography is beautiful, but it just didn't hold my interest. I kept falling asleep. Maybe I was just too tired. I wasn't able to make it to the films on Wednesday and nothing on Thursday interested me. The rest of the weekend I had plans with friends and they weren't interested in the fest, so that was it for me. A quite enjoyable experience and now I'm looking forward to the City Page Documentary Film Festival!
As I said, my friends weren't interested in the more obscure films of the fest, but we did see this one on Friday night. I actually liked it more than I thought I would. Like "Transamerica", I had a lot of preconceptions about the film that turned out to be untrue. I thought it was going to be a typical chick flick with a lot of hijinks, especially by Jennifer Anniston. It's much more thoughtful and quiet than that. There's not a ton of laughs - it's more about the characters and their lives. The husbands are also prominent parts of the film and they're not stereotypes. I really had a lot of fondness for all of these characters.
After the movie we had dinner at Salut, one of the hot new restaurants in town. It's very pretty inside and has a good menu. It's a French restaurant, but not in the stuffy "French restaurant" way. It's very comfortable and inviting. I had a blood orange margarita to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and it was wonderful! For dinner I had a bowl of French Onion soup and a butter lettuce salad. The soup was delicious. Chock full of bread and cheese, just the way I like it. The salad was presented beautifully, but wasn't anything special, taste-wise. We all shared the cheese plate and that was quite enjoyable. I'd definitely go back to Salut again.
Saturday I saw "Inside Man". Really enjoyed that one too. It's very stylish and beautifully shot. I enjoy a good heist movie and this was that. You have to suspend your disbelief a bit. In order for things to end up the way they do, a lot of things have to happen just that way. It's not exactly clear to me why the bank robbers have chosen this crime and this manner, as opposed to another place and time. And I still wasn't exactly sure about some things in the end, which I won't get into so as to avoid spoilers. But, having said that, I was satisfied. I was caught up in the action and waiting to see what was going to happen next and I didn't guess everything that was going to happen 5 minutes before it did. I was pretty disappointed in Jodie Foster's performance. I thought it was a little over the top and unbelievable. Perhaps that's partly the writing in the script. Overall it was enjoyable though.
Since this is getting way too long, I'll leave the knitting portion of my post for next time.