Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Festival du Nouveau Cinema: All Tomorrow's Parties

I stopped by the FNC last night, and nothing against the festival itself (at all!), but The All Tomorrow's Parties' movie, (contributions by Jonathan Caouette and Vincent Moon (of Blogotheque and the wildly popular Takeaway Shows)) was an abysmal train wreck. It started promising enough - the title sequence juxtaposing the dancing marionettes and the Battles performance, and the archival footage had some quick and interesting editing, with at least a tentative attempt to contextualize the festival and the movie (started as a Belle and Sebastian gathering, okay, cool). But whatever the high-points, they were frustratingly brief against a back-drop of the erratic filming of stoned idiots, contrived taking-it-to-the-streets walking parades (yeah, yeah, joie de vivre, we get it), that, rather than capturing the manic excitement and exuberance of a festival (I assume this was the intent), had me looking at my watch about twenty-five minutes in.

The majority of the film was a patchwork of minimally-filmed performances combined with behaviour that was predictable and boring when it came from the usual quarters (loutish music fest attendees) and just plain annoying from 55 year olds in Marc Jacobs trapped in their bizarre posturing personae* (Thurston Moore & Kim Gordon, ahem). I'm sure the film-makers intended it to be both a document of the energy of this precious festival, and a musing on the leisure past-times of the self-marginalized underclass of white people (hence that archival footage - pensioners on summer holiday by the sea, northern soul dancers in those over-sized pants), but it could have been called White People Acting Like Idiots and made more thematic sense.

Michael Haneke's most recent film, The White Ribbon, will be playing on Sunday, October 18th at eXcentris as part of the FNC. Good to know that there are more horror of personality films that portray Europe as a festooning mess of hypocritical people who hate each other, are eager to inflict misery upon each other even though they know it to be meaningless, and are vastly ignorant of wave after wave of immigrants hitting their shores. Is all of modern European cinema beholden to Fassbinder and Pasolini's Salo? Find out for yourself, or just skip the whole nihilistic affair and settle in for some at-home misanthropy and self-loathing, from both sides of the ideological spectrum, courtesy of Colin Newman of Wire and crypto-fascist Euro-alienation wavers In The Nursery. (I first came across this song on the From Torture to Conscience compilation LP, which I picked up many years ago while on tour in Ottawa, and also features Current 93 and Death In June).

Lea Rinaldi, when you come across this while self-Googling, please accept this as an apology for erroneously thinking that your film Behind Jim Jarmusch was a by-the-book behind the scenes look at the director. It wasn't!

*I have nothing against 55 years old wearing Marc Jacobs.

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