Only Theo Panayides Has Wings

This is a blog about Theo Panayides, the cyprustician online critic that writes reviews of movies old and new on his website ( He is very good. In fact, he is awesome. It is also an exercise for my english-writing abilities, as I'm from Brazil.

Location: Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Day 1 of Fest

After a mind-numbing, weeping-baby-ing, guy-sitting-next-to-you-with-BO-ing fourteen hour bus trip from Goiania to São Paulo, only accompanied by Radiohead and The National CDs and the hope that the next few days will not suck as much, I arrived at the terminal and met with the buds and already felt as if things were going to get going in a nice way.

Anyway, it is nice to be in a huge city again (this is starting to sound like Theo's festival blog), the whole diversity thing going on, huge archtecture structures (sp?etc), an excutive-type with a nice suit holding a dog's collar sitting next to a punkish teen with a Che Guevara handbag and etc, you know how it is. I'm sure I had a few anecdotes for the day, but I sure as hell can't think of any now, because I'm sleepy and there's this dude sitting next to me playing Metallica on a guitar and reading what I'm writing, so etc.

Anyway, a few quick thoughts on...

ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (61): What it is with this movie is that Miranda July has a bit of the Todd Solondz sensibility (Hal Hartley also came to mind) except she's not perverted or self-loathing (at least not as much). The entire thing has a dreamy feel, the dialogue is slightly stylized, the narrative feels constructed as to fit all of Miranda July's ideas for images, sounds, moments, dialogues; even though most of it doesn't really cohere, it is still a sight to see, a huge, rich collection of such moments as a gold fish on top of a moving car, a guy setting his own hand on fire, pink shoes with "Me" and "You" written on them dancing across a pink carpet, and such stuff. It's quirky, but never in an annoying way. The quirkiness in this case creates an uneasy feeling, not the typical inviting "Oh look how cute she collects sea shells that look like turtles etc!", and she also plays the weirdness for occasional deadpan hilarity, like the online sex chat with helpfull tips by the younger brother. I thought I found a connecting theme when the old dude (July's character's father?) says that "people are always looking for things they cannot have" (or something like that. I don't take notes. I mean jesus) -- July is in love with a guy who has no interest in her, tries to get her art to people who have no interest in it, the dad tries hard to be liked by his kids, the young one tries to change time in the end by knocking a coin on a pole (and with success!) -- but anyway, it still seems a little slight. I'll leave theme to better minds (aka the Theoster). Also, funky eletronic soundtrack.

HIDDEN (70): A disapointment. Not that it is bad. No sir. This movie is all kinds of awesome (ok maybe not all kinds but you know what I am talking about so thanks). But it is also frustrating. I guess I'm overrating it a little, because at least 4 or 5 of those points are out of pure objective admiration; if I'd grade it entirely on my response, it would be a 66, most likely. Some problems with my viewing experience: (1) by putting together all the pieces, like the trailer, reading 30 thousand different (non-spoilery) comments on Toronto blogs, knowing that the identity of the terrorizer will not be explained, and that there's a whole "War on Iraq" guilt subtext, well... when I actually got to watching the damn thing, there was not much to look for. I guessed most of the plot. Heck, I even knew from the moment that SPOILER puts his hand on his pocket to reach out for a SPOILER, that he would SPOILER himself with it in a really disturbing way, which took out some of the (immense, I imagine) shock. The tension I felt throughout was a mix of "oh lord just make it stop because this is so unpleasant" and "oh lord just move on because I'm way ahead of this movie". And also (2) Haneke makes this deliberately frustrating, by not giving the audience any "release" or "payoff", not even a climatic scene like the one at the end of CODE UNKNOWN (the "Drums + Steadicam" one). It feels impersonal, lacking any emotional core, and most of its tension's power would dissipate with a second viewing (right?). But this is still masterful stuff. Theo's right about the "Unknown Forces controlling our lives" this has going for it: there's even a scene during a shooting of Auteil's show where he's given off-screen directions on how to react while the show ends. And it is still nerve-racking: a friend would bury her face in my arm everytime she thought something bad was going to happen, and it is to Haneke's credit that she spent at least 60% of the movie with her face buried. Even a simple kitchen shot with Auteil buttering his bread or Binoche washing dishes was like "oh fuck something's gonna happen now. I can feel it. Anytime now. Oh lord it is going to be ugly. Oh no". And this is a good thing. Now Haneke please have shit actually happen more often. Ok? Thanks.

Oh yeah, I remembered a bloggy-aside type comment I wanted to make: the cinephile crowd during festival time is particularly friendly and open. One smart 30-ish guy overheard me and a friend talking about THE MANDY LAY while waiting in the line to HIDDEN and he was all friendly commenting his experience with it: "Oh, I was getting kind of bored because it lost DOGVILLE's freshness, but the last 20 minutes are breathtaking." Also, a cute 20-ish lady overheard me and another friend discussing about how the screenings are selling out easily and the difficulty to get tickets, and she happily dropped in her two cents. The weird thing is that they both said Wim Wenders' DON'T COME KNOCKING was the best of the festival they'd seen, so they must clearly be out of their minds (right?). Also, the same guy in line also said "Dardennes' THE SON is a fucking bore". So yeah do not trust the random friendly cinephiles.

Tomorrow: more rambling, retarded, incoherent, filled-with-spelling-mistakes type comments on THE VIOLENCE'S HISTORY and THE DIG(!).

PS: One of the buds, Khansc, is very sick, and will miss the festival because of it. We were all feeling for you, bud, while Haneke drop-kicked our asses. Try to make it to the MANDERLAY screening at least. Etc.


Anonymous Vadim said...

Do not trust the random friendly cinephiles they all have STDs.

Also I came home at 4 am and am sexiled. WTF in my opinion.

1:16 AM  
Blogger baaab said...

Good job on the pre-fest soundtrack bud. Remember when I didn't update the music list in months. And remember when there was still no chance in hell ALLIGATOR was ever getting dethroned. That was awesome.

3:23 AM  
Blogger Theo said...

So what did the Sao Paulo crowd think of Haneke? Random press people here seem to think it's Best of the Fest, but it still hasn't shown to the public. They will obviously hate it imo.

Also I've finally bought this Ally McGator CD (shut up baaab, I don't have broadband and can not download a thousand indie albums at will) after listening to all the tracks that are not "Mr. November" on the HMV listening post. It sounds pretty good. Also LOWER CITY is not that great, sorry brazilians.

3:29 AM  
Blogger baaab said...

I just had a secret meeting in the basement of my brain, wherein I congratulated Theo on not being the most unnecessarily belated National groupie on this blog comment page (hint: it's not me either). Nudge nudge.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Luis said...

I met the previously mentioned smart 30ish guy on the way out of the HIDDEN screening and he said he thought it was "awesome!". All my friends liked (I think I was the one who liked it the least). V, the panayidette who comments over here every once in a while, had never seen a Haneke movie, and said he was probably "the best living/working director".

I couldn't really tell what the general feel of the audience was, but everyone was completely silent throughout the screening, and the SPOILER scene shocked the whole place (a lot screaming/jumping/etc).

And I'm put together beautifully. Big wet bottle in my fist, big wet rose in my teeth. I'm perfect piece of ass. Etc.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Vadim said...

baaab shut up i'll listen to the fucking album in...the next two weeks. Or something.

11:53 PM  
Blogger V said...

The SPOILER scene had me shaking through the rest of the movie, and that chicken bit was freaky. Mr. Haneke why are you such a sadist. Thanks.

Anyway, I guess the movie is kind of impersonal and predictable, and some scenes will certainly become annoying on second viewing, wich is why I think I'm never seeing this movie again. Seriously.

PS: I'm tired.

PPS: I think the whole War-on-Iraq/fear-of-aliens-etc thing doesn't actually qualify as subtext, since he shows it on a goddam TV screen and etc. I mean come on.

PPPS: Did I mention Haneke is a total genius? I mean jesus christ, how does he do that?

8:23 PM  
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