The Philadelphia Cinefest started a few days ago. This year I did not purchase a pass, and only managed to see four films.
A word about the festival before I get to the reviews: It’s cheap and easy to navigate. The selection doesn’t have any big films (those you can see anywhere, so whats the point?), but it does have a broad selection of lesser-known foreign and indie movies.
The downside of the festival is that there are too many horrible-quality DVD screenings of films. I mean, really bad dark dark digital projection. Unfortunately, the format of the screening is not listed in the program. I don’t think I’ll go back to a screening unless I know it’s not digital.
Living on Love Alone
Isabelle Czajka, France, 2010, 90 min.
An insignificant little film about a young girl trying to make a living in Paris. Except she seems to fail at every turn, eventually hooking up with a charismatic thief. Things go from bad to worse, but I learned nothing through the journey.
Denis Villeneuve, Canada, 2010, 130 min.
An excellent film all the way through, from the strong opening to the devastating ending. This story of two siblings trying to unlock the secret of their mother’s past is amazing on all fronts. I can talk more in depth about it, but that would ruin the film for those who haven’t seen it. Watch it, then we can discuss.
Dome Karukoski, Finland, 2010 90 min.
A loser, who in no way deserves his girlfriend, has been given one simple job by her: buy a cable box. She even gives him the money. A comedic journey ensues as he tries to accomplish the task. The premise is forced, but it does have its moments. A decent but forgettable comedy.
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen
Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, Hong Kong, 2010, 105 min.
The DVD screening of this film was horrible. It was way too dark, way too loud and the speed was off. The film was really just a second-rate martial arts picture. Nothing special.
That’s it for this year! Maybe I’ll attempt to go to the festival next year. We’ll see.