The morning starts off bright and early with Obselidia, a romance (of sorts) between a librarian, who’s obsessed with the past who is compiling an Encyclopedia of Obsolete Things, and one of his interviewees, a projectionist at the local LA silent movie theatre. The opening titles were fantastic, a series of slide projections featuring Victorian illustrations, but the rest of the film was disappointing, with ridiculous dialogue, pretentious references to Sebald and Antonioni dropped in willy-nilly, and annoying performances.
Ironically enough, after the film I met the projectionist, who was praising the HD Cam format which allowed him to just press play, a development that the film’s protagonists were lamenting. Discuss.
I can’t be bothered to trek over to Cineworld so stay put in Filmhouse 1, despite my lack of enthusiasm for the synopsis of the next film, Vacation! But I loved it! Four cool (and horny) young women, old school friends, take a trip to the beach for a week to hang out and catch up. Despite the premise, it’s a world apart from Sex and the City: a very low budget American indie movie, with candy colours, electro-pop soundtrack and American Apparel wardrobe. Even when the holiday turns into a nightmare, it never lets up on the realism or the genuine humour. I want to be on holiday with them too!
Next up is Monsters. It’s been described as Before Sunrise-meets-District 9, but to me it felt more like Jurassic Park-meets-In Search of a Midnight Kiss (with the same male lead as the latter). When central America becomes contaminated with aliens (giant floating octopi), a young press photographer is asked by his boss to chaperone his daughter out of the zone and back to the safety of the United States. Inevitably a romance blossoms between them along the hazardous journey. It was well shot and well scripted, with endearing lead performances, but there wasn’t enough action for it to be exciting and we never learnt enough about the aliens for it to be scary. A few journalists I spoke to afterwards loved it, but I didn’t really get it.
I stuff down some nachos, then rush over to Cineworld for The Dry Land. Esther, who used to work at the ICO and is currently coordinating screenings for the festival, excitedly informs me that America Ferrera (the star of the film) just touched her arm. Shame the movie isn’t that exciting a relentlessly bleak issue film about an Iraq war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and struggling to fit back into life at home. But it’s a contender for an Audience Award and the programmers I spoke to who’d seen it thought it was great. I was tired. And the ceiligh which sounded like a good idea two hours ago suddenly seems impossibly energetic so I stumble home to bed.