Sunday, March 25, 2012

THE DEEP BLUE SEA and #NDNF standout HEMEL punctuated my 6-movie weekend

I love this New Directors New Films festival happening now at MoMA and Film Society Lincoln Center!

On top of the two movies I caught yesterday, I was scheduled to go to one more today (HEMEL) which I was tempted to turn into two when I showed up impulsively for GIMME THE LOOT which I missed at SXSW.

Well, the darn thing was sold out, so I joined the standby line and was 20-minutes later denied entry, just barely, as I watched the guy in front of me (who had cut in front of me in line, no less) be the last person to get in.  No matter - I don't like getting let into movies 10 minutes after they've started, anyhow. I'm not a wait lister, at my core.

I did have my heart set on a six-movie weekend, though, which meant squeezing in THE DEEP BLUE SEA at the Paris theater around the corner instead.  I missed it at TIFF '11 and since I have a general fondness for Rachel Weisz, figured why not.

Well, I'll tell you why not.  Because that audience was full of useless good-for-nothing chatterboxes who had clearly not left their house in months if not years.  That's the only reason I can think of for their atrocious behavior in a public arena.    Conversations.  At full volume.  During the trailers. During the opening scenes.  I figured these 80 year olds just needed to get their yayas out and they'd quiet down once they got into the story. Not so, my friends.  I was surrounded by a chorus of conversationalists.  It's something out of a nightmare.  I switched seats multiple times, unable to talk (or glare) any sense into the offenders.   It's more than just being spoiled by the Drafthouse.  It's unacceptable and I almost walked out.

It's fair to stay that slightly informed my mood during the movie, but even so - it wasn't for me.  A beautiful, dramatic period piece with every shot framed and lit to perfection.  Yes, gorgeous. Nice job. But.  I didn't care too much.  The story dropped me in the middle of something without telling me who or why, and didn't get me there fast enough.  Eh.

I dashed out of the theater and ran back to MoMa for a 5:30 screening of HEMEL which I actually had a ticket for -- in other words, no need to hope and pray no d-bags cut me off in the standby line.

I'm not sure what stood out to me about the description of HEMEL or why I chose it in particular but I'm sure glad I did.  This is a compelling and at times uncomfortable Dutch drama whose main character could be compared to Michael Fassbender's sex addict in SHAME.    Except she's a young woman - at times defiant and unflinching in her conquests, other times wounded and unpredictable. She has a lot of sex - and she needs to.  A strong, focused, bold young woman with everything going for her - but nobody nobody who genuinely cares for her, except perhaps her art director father, with whom she shares a skin-crawlingly curious close relationship.

I really loved this!  It was totally one of those movies where I catch myself halfway through leaning forward in my seat, elbows on my knees, biting off what little fingernails I have left.  A performance like this is not one with Oscar clips but one that sneaks up on you in the way that you can't imagine this woman as anything but this character. If I were to by chance pass her on the streets of NY some day following the screening, I'd expect her to blurt out the c-word or give my (non-existent) boyfriend an inappropriately-flirtations once-over.

And the depth of her character! I got the feeling they could have taken this woman's story and made 20 different films about her.  There were so many sides to here to which the screenplay only alluded, that could have been compelling films in and of themselves.

I am not sure about the distribution plan of the film but I hope more of my movie-lover friends get the chance to check it out one way or another.

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