Saturday, June 18, 2011

2011 LA Film Festival - Paraiso For Sale

It's no secret that Panama has become for the last few years a haven for American retirees, the low cost of living in that country allowing expats to come buy houses on the beach for a few dollars - not even mentioning the absence of taxes to pay.

As the word spread across Northern America, not only have legions of seniors started to invade that country but greedy developers have also jumped the bandwagon, decided to turn Panama in another Cancun. The documentary follows three characters, a man running for major to protect locals against those developers, an indigenous fighting developers who are stealing their land and one of the first American residents who is now trying to fight this invasion as well. What we witness is a story that can be seen throughout South America and also in my native Provence (to a lesser extent), which is foreigners buying houses, developers kicking locals out while stealing their property and the price of housing becoming too high for local.

While the documentary does a great job at delivering its revolting message, one will regret that it doesn't confront the first American residents who, despite fighting against the invaders, were the ones who opened the can of worms in the first place.

The three main protagonists were present for the Q&A at the LA film festival, adding a dose of emotion to the screening. (Paraiso for Sale review)

2011 LA Film Festival - Bad Intentions

The Peruvian entry Bad Intentions (The Bad Intentions review) was probably the entry I was looking forward to the most and it didn't disappoint me. The film about a weird little girl who thinks she will die when her brother will get born provided a haunting look at the mind of a somewhat twisted kid while showcasing in the background the political turmoil that was shaking Peru in the 80's.

Writer/director Rosario GarcĂ­a-Montero who was there for the Q&A admitted that it was somewhat of an autobiographical work; So far my favorite film at this Los Angeles film festival edition.

Friday, June 17, 2011

2011 LA Film Festival - Drive

Drive (Drive review) was a perfect choice as a gala entry on Friday. The Nicolas Winding Refn film (Valhala Rising) is not only a homage to those B-movies that always have had a place at the LA film festival program but it is in shot in LA's gritty streets not far from where the screening occurred.

In terms of Lalaland factor, the red carpet gala featured a series of celebrities, including the actors from the film.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2011 LA Film Festival - Introduction

For the second time, the LA film festival is being held at the Nokia mall, downtown LA. While I'm really not a fan of that cold mall, which should be better suited for Irvine or any other aseptic OC city, this is at least a central location, which allows to bring a more contrasted crowd, rather than just a bunch of UCLA students, as it used to be the case in Westwood village.

What makes the festival particularly interesting this year is that it offers the chance to discover a wider selection of films, as there is less festival circuit favorites than usual. What also makes me happy is that we won't have to endure another premiere of a Transformers movie, even though the screening of that Green Lantern should have been a better match for the Newport Beach film festival.

The only thing I am somewhat disappointed with is the fact that the screenings at the Ford are scarce and not that exciting this year - I miss the good old times when former radio glory Indie103 was partnering with the festival for some punk screenings there ...

But what infuriates me the most - and this happens at every festival every year - is some of those ignorant film students who, because they took a film 101 class, have to ask every filmmaker during the Q&A if they got inspired by some film they just discovered ... to all of the wannabe filmmakers starting school or growing up on Michael Bay cinema, please respect the filmmakers during the Q&As and just shut up ... Here is a hint: No, Peruvian entry Bad Intentions doesn't look like it's been inspired by Pan's Labyrinth, even though these are two movies with kids in Spanish.

Now, it's time to get with business ... Find out about the films in our next posts ...