Palm Springs Film Festival, I

 As rewarding personally as I find the experience of participating as a member of FIPRESCI juries in fa-rflung international festivals, I sometimes wonder what impact it has on human history. What, for example, ever happened to the Kazakstan director of the lovely little film “Notes of a Trackman” which got the prize a couple of years ago at Turin, whose name I can’t even remember? That’s why I was enthusiastic about working as a juror at the Palm Springs Film Festival, founded by the late Sonny Bono 20 years ago. The films under consideration here are all nominees by their various countries for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Perhaps our choice might nudge the Academy into choosing it well for the big prize as well? But then who remembers who won the Best Foreign Laanguage Film Osacr last year?
On the other hand, when I left Boston yesterday for this desert oasis resort town, home to some of the finest dates 9the fruit, that is) in America and the final resting place of Frank Sinatra, (his tombstone reads “the best is yet to come”), the streets were paved with lethaly slick ice. Here it’s about 72 degrees by the poolside.
Speaking of icy streets, they provide one of the more entertaining sequences in Norwegian director Bent Hamer’s entry, “O’Horten,” which I saw yesterday. It made me reflect on my life, made me think that  had I not become a film critic I wouldn’t mind being an engineer on the Oslo-Bergen run. There’d I’d be sitting pretty at the driver’s seat of a high speed train, puffing on a pipe, the cockpit opening like a giant video game into the endless snowscapes, sucked into pitch black tunnels leading to a pinhole of light, not even really minding that they are a metaphor for death.
But this is not my life, it is that of curmudgeonly Odd Horten of the title, who, as the film begins, is about to make his final run before retiring after 40 years service,, and, as metaphor would have it, is slipping with a mask of wry bemusement and tragedy from the tight schedules and inexorable tracks of the railroad system to into a Kaurismaki-inspired world of gently surreal anarchy and alcohol-fueled absurdity.
Very funny, though the couple sitting next to us hated it, and the dog is nice, too.

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Outside The Frame Archives