April 25, 2008

Boston Dispatch. 1.

IFF Boston The cinetrix gets this party started.

Greetings from the Independent Film Festival of Boston's epicenter, Somerville, Massachusetts, home of, among other things, marshmallow Fluff. There's no fluff to be seen on these screens, howevah.

It's day three, and the fest, now in its sixth year, is in full swing. Opening night saw former Brattle Theatre ticket-taker made good Brad Anderson come home to debut his latest feature, Transsiberian, with cast member Sir Ben Kingsley among those making the IFFB red-carpet scene.

On Thursday night, already the unofficial beginning of the weekend in this college-glutted town, the pace picked up noticeably as the cinematic choices multiplied. Lines snaked around the block for Medicine for Melancholy, My Effortless Brilliance and Natural Causes. The first shorts program unspooled. The Coolidge Corner Theatre came on line for the duration of the fest, hosting Potter-mad doc We Are Wizards and Alex Orr's twisted Blood Car, set in a futurist dystopia that turns the "no blood for oil" vow inside out.

Mister Lonely

The first film the cinetrix saw, Mister Lonely, drew a bona fide sellout crowd - filled to the brim with Harmony Korine devotees, as it turned out. This quickly became evident during the post-screening Q&A with the director, back with his first film since a "crisis of faith" he vaguely eluded to left him wondering if he'd ever make movies again. Earnest questions about Werner Herzog and sky-diving nuns were interrupted by an enthusiastic fellow strategically situated in the front row, who seemed to treat the encounter as a private audience with the bemused auteur. There's one in every crowd, and sometimes more than that.

Meadowlark A much smaller but no less enthusiastic audience convened later that evening for the world premiere of a film you must track down, Taylor Greeson's Meadowlark. This very personal documentary, set in Montana's Big Sky landscapes, revisits the filmmaker's twelfth summer. That year, he began his first sexual relationship - with an older man, an ordained a priest in the Mormon church - and his 15-year-old brother Charlie was stabbed to death. It's a stinging, painful examination of Greeson's past, and how that past has informed his own and his family's present.

Tomorrow, the Brattle Theatre's single screen joins the fray, complicating further the itineraries of eager cinephiles who want to see it all. It's a wonderful dilemma. Pretty much, there are as many ways to approach this festival as there are films. You can catch up on raves and faves from recent festivals, or reduce your carbon footprint and go local, exploring the films that make this fest not just independent but distinctly Boston-based. Or simply pick a venue and stick with it. The cinetrix will be trying to do all three - I'll let you know how it works out. And if you spot me on the red line or the 66, say hello.

More from Boston here.

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Posted by dwhudson at April 25, 2008 12:26 PM