CineEuropa 13 '10 Day 2 - Getting the Hang of a Movie Marathon

September 13, 2010 (Monday)

Monday came. It was time to put my plan into action, along with the challenge to get by a 12-hour day starting at 11 a.m. with only a few hours of sleep due to over-excitement. I was going to watch four movies in a row and a clever and excited me showed up forgetting the two most important things I should bring - a bottle of water and a jacket to keep me warm. The first was solved through a trip to Mercury at the far end of Shangrila since the supermarket was closed. I was glad for the exercise. As for the latter, I went ahead and tested my tolerance for the normal theater temperature. There were still plenty of tickets by the time I arrived a little after 11 a.m., which was the ticket-giving time for the 12 p.m. film. Eating breakfast was more important for a newbie like me at the CineEuropa Festival to prepare myself for the day since the film will end a little time before 3 p.m. and I haven't got much time.


The second film I watched for this filmfest was about the historical plight of the Chilean and Cuban people together with the Swedish ambassador Harald Edelstam and hero against the military takeover of Gen. Pinochet in 1973. He was a different kind of diplomat who helped those in need against all odds, even defied some protocols and acted so unlike what his position demanded of him at that time - to protect the interests of his country. In his videos at the end of the film, it was so touching to hear him say that being a diplomat should not be only about the cocktail parties and mingling with the people in government. For him, a true diplomat should be present with the people, especially during times of need no matter what their nationality was. It was sad though when he said that that the only people who supported him through that time were the Finnish and nobody else. I had only hoped that the primary focus not to be on the love story, that he only went as far to help because of his muse. He was courageous though until he could no longer risk the life of his love for this woman. The intro suggested that the film was based on a true story and some of the names and scenes have been altered and exaggerated for dramatic effect so the task to research if the extent of the love story was also true is left for a curious audience. Towards the end, the movie started shifting the focus of what diplomacy means and what has to be done in times of crisis with the power that his immunity as a foreign representative holds. Be it for selfish reasons or not, this was a real person who strived to get past his own problems and found numerous ways to change the world and serve the international community at the same time.

Movie Title: Svarta Nejlikan (The Black Pimpernel) 2007

The third film was my favorite so far. It was about a story of love and hate set in a village in Italy. In this town, I loved the idea that everybody is interconnected in some way and as Marcello put it, it is a place where all people always want something out of somebody and you would have to barter and work hard to get what you want. It revolves around an old tradition of courtship wherein all young men who want to spend time with a girl must go through a ritual on her 18th birthday. Tradition requires that all suitors must bring gifts for the father of the girl and he picks the gift he likes. The winner gets to go out with her on her first date from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. This film is about a boy's dealings with a number of people in his village to get the love of his life. There will be twists that will keep you laughing and engage you in the exciting yet arduous tasks the boy has to go through in the entire film. He risks doing all sorts of stuff in exchange for an extraordinary gift for the girl's father - a rooster. You'll meet the butcher, the twin sisters, the dressmaker, the barber, the priest, the voice of God and Armando along the way. Even if he was against this tradition, it has forced and trapped him to go the extra mile to have a few moments with this girl. At the same time, the story gets more exciting as Marcello attempts to escape again and again from a teacher who scheduled this genius for an exam to get a scholarship at the same time of the ritual. In the end, he pours out his story and feelings into that essay. Reconciliation and love makes everything worthwhile. The movie all starts and ends with water, water that gives life where there is love and hate at the same time.

The fourth film was about a young smart girl Jenny of 16 who is being groomed to attend the prestigious Oxford University until she meets a much older man who shows her the other fun and adventurous side of life. The movie is ironically set in the city of London during the post-war era when there was a transition to a more liberal 60s. Fragile and prone to influence, Jenny was also at the point of transition to become a woman. The plot seems to liven up the whole debate of the value and purpose of an academic education, going through exams and many years of "boredom" versus learning through experience that is fun and exciting and skips the monotonous habits we breed. It also seems to challenge that education be a means of having a comfortable life which can easily be achieved too when you find a partner who is well-endowed and financially stable. The girl went on to experience a world where "action is character", that it is by doing something (as opposed to doing nothing exciting in life) that defines who you are. In the end, her life goes on even if she has lost everything and the dream for Oxford goes back when she realizes that she cannot take "shortcuts" in life such as marrying a rich man who can make her experience anything.

Movie Title: An Education 2009

The fifth film is a mystery of movie that I would rather see in television. It reminds me so much of Murder She Wrote with the setting, story line and the acting of the main cast although it was based on an Agatha Christie novel. While watching, I was hypothesizing who the killer was and soon I was a little tired from anticipating the end of a confusing string of events. A lot of details come out of nowhere and you'd be better off accepting what happens as it goes. The film was about a group of people, some friends, relatives and employees, who spent several days together in a mansion. A lawyer and a millionaire dies soon and a policeman solves everything through a mind game with a madman. My last thought, the witness was planted to make the story stick. The film was enjoyable for its difference in setting and genre though. It was based on an understanding that a perfect plan to murder always approaches Zero Hour where all the circumstances converge to commit that perfect crime to the very last detail. This movie ended at that Zero Hour and the villain was caught before that perfect crime.

Movie Title: L'huere Zero (Towards Zero) 2007

I made it through my marathon and I enjoyed it so much. The films either take me in them to another time in history, to a land of make believe or to a whole new appreciation for films. I set my lunch for this marathon at around 2 p.m. and dinner at 8 p.m. People rush out before the films end to get limited raffle tickets for the trip to Europe. I think this is so unfair for eveybody who watched and the films do not get the recognition they deserve. Bathroom breaks come after I have gotten my next ticket. The films are around 1.5 to 2 hours long so people also rush out just in time to get in line for the tickets too or else you won't make it. Lines toward the end of the day are longer by the time you get out of the cinema. Also, you'll only spoil yourself when eating extra snacks like popcorn. Remember that you still have a few days so don't develop a habit that you will regret. And, I can survive without the jacket but it's better to have one just in case.

Read more about CineEuropa:

CineEuropa - Europe Through My Eyes
CineEuropa - Getting the Hang of a Movie Marathon
CineEuropa - Movie Buddies
CineEuropa - More Stories
CineEuropa - The Last Hurrah