April 15, 2007

Full Frame Dispatch. 2.

The cinetrix follows up on Friday's dispatch from the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival It's that point in the festival. Your pal the cinetrix is awash with images and ideas. A quick look at some standouts, and then it's back into the dark for me.

Believe the hype about Manda Bala (Send a Bullet). This riveting look at corruption and crime from the highest offices to the most destitute favalas in Brazil presents its stories with arresting visuals and amazing characters. Mr M drives a bulletproof car. "Patricia" was kidnapped and had both of her ears cut off. Magrinho kidnaps the rich to provide food, medicine, sewage and smooth roads for his favela. Senator Jader Barbalho bilks the residents of Amazonia out of billions of development dollars. And it's all tied together by... a frog farm.

How did the filmmaker decide to tell this story? Affable, casually cursing Jason Kohn revealed during the Q&A that years ago he and his producer got high and watched some video he'd shot at frog farms while visiting his father in Brazil. With the profundity of one in an altered state, Kohn observed of the frogs: "They look like little people." And thus a film was born.

Ghosts of Cité Soleil Kohn urged me to see Ghosts of Cité Soleil, set in the slums of Port-au-Prince just as Aristede left. (I just thanked him.) It's a brutal, yes, but also moving story of masculinity in extremis with a fast-paced style that suggests the videos of the hip-hop artists that gang-leading brothers Bily and 2Pac model themselves after, with true life-or-death stakes.

Time for typeface. Helvetica is about to start, so I'll leave you with something St Clair Bourne said during this afternoon's Power of Ten roundtable: "Media sells soap, but it also carries dreams."

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Posted by dwhudson at April 15, 2007 2:48 AM