When you're used to plunging into film festivals at the 5-movie-a-day pace I try to maintain at SXSW, Telluride, and (when I'm lucky enough to go) Toronto, taking it easy at your hometown fest seems a little like dereliction of duty. It is also, in some ways, more rewarding: without constantly having to rush to the next show, I had some time to digest and reflect (as well as eat lunch and dinner which, unless you're at SXSW where the theaters feed you, is a festival luxury).

The best of the eight films I saw was Maren Ade's Everyone Else, which I reviewed here -- it won't likely come to your hometown, but you should look for it on DVD; it's a lock for my year-end top ten list. The second best was Vincenzo Natali's Splice, which our Kevin Kelly reviewed at Sundance. I could go on at length about it but won't; suffice it to say that while the genetic-experiment horror flick makes a fine creature feature it's also, like Natali's other films, a mesmerizing plunge into the vast unknown. There are plenty of genre filmmakers who are out to evoke terror and disgust, and a bunch more who have made tension and unease their stock-in-trade, but Natali is one of the very few (I can't think of another currently working) whose goal is to instill a sense of awe.
categories Cinematical