I started the day off with The Conspiracy. From the Fantastic Fest site: Two young documentary filmmakers are drawn into a shadowy world of secret societies when the subject of their film simply disappears. Have his investigations led to his demise?
I really liked this film. It was a suspenseful, minimalist little thriller. It was filmed in doc-style, but not found footage. Not exclusively, anyway. The premise is that our story evolved from documentary on conspiracy theorists, so we see mixture of footage. Video and audio interviews with the subject, doc footage of filmmakers discussing subject, verite footage as filmmakers start putting pieces together,and finally, hidden, shaky-cam footage are all interwoven to tell the story. Additionally, the story is compelling and interesting because it is well-researched. Not based on true events (and never trying to convince you of that fact) it takes established conspiracy theories and uses them as a jumping off point to develop this fictional story. This film was a really fun ride – be sure to keep an eye out for it.
I am not really sure how to classify this one. First off, I am not the biggest giallo fan. But I really loved this film. Maybe because it is not straight giallo. It certainly takes cues and elements from the genre, but it doesn’t throw its full weight behind it. It has a more modern style, and some distinctly Lynchian qualities with some of the visuals, as well as the use of sound.
Let’s talk about that first: this film utilizes a really incredible use of sound. With a film about a sound mixer, you would certainly hope so, and I wasn’t disappointed. Most of the film, in fact, centers around Toby Jones’ Gilderoy creating and mixing sound for the film. Instead of the standard art house flick that focuses heavily on striking images to tell its story, this one is infused with audio elements instead. It has a really haunting and hypnotic quality. You never actually get to see the giallo film being worked on (aside from an AWESOME opening title sequence), but you get so much through the soundtrack that you fill in all the blanks and feel like you can see the images being depicted anyway.
It seems that the reaction to this one has been sharply divided. Many people complained that film didn’t really reach a conclusion, which I can certainly understand, but that didn’t really bother me. I enjoyed every second of it, so even though it wasn’t really building toward anything terribly revealing, I found it immensely satisfying. For me, the payoff wasn’t in the climax of the film, but in the journey through it. Watching Gilderoy, constantly at odds with everything around him, slowly losing himself in this strange new world. Again, it’s probably not going to be for everyone, but I strongly encourage you to give it a shot and see what you think.
I capped the evening off with Vanishing Waves. From Fantastic Fest: A scientist with a neurological research team volunteers to experiment with a new technology which will allow him to access the thoughts of a coma victim.
This film is like The Cell, but Lithuanian, and with a much smaller budget. I had mixed feelings. While I enjoyed aspects of it, it never really came together the way I wanted it to. Its pacing was its biggest problem. It jumps in too fast; I wish it had spent a little more time building in the beginning to make protagonist’s motives more believable and to establish him as a good guy. I found it difficulty to relate to him. The film was beautifully shot, but simple. Director Kristina Buozyte makes good use of the dream-like nature of the story with the wandering cinematography, but sometimes, that element was overplayed. In the end, I don’t really regret the time spent watching it, but I don’t heartily recommend it either.
Day Seven coming soon, and it includes awesomeness from Norway!