Monday, September 22, 2008

CIFF notes -- Day 3

Day 3, Sept 21

Two films seen:

Used Parts
(2007, Mexico, Aarón Fernández): 9/10
Let the Right One in (2008, Sweden, Tomas Alfredson): 8.5/10

The Slovenian film Spare Parts was about illegal border crossing and focused mainly on the drivers who transported the people seeking a better life. The theme of border crossing also exists in the Mexican film Used Parts but the film instead focuses on the people who want to cross the border. The majority of the film looks at the lives of two teenagers (Ivan & Efraín) who work at odd jobs in order to make ends meet. Working with his uncle, Ivan eventually resorts to stealing car parts (hub caps, mirrors, etc) to make some fast cash to pay for their border crossing payments. The early part of the film spends time laying out all the characters and situations properly, so when things do go wrong, we know exactly the different paths that the characters would end up taking. In fact, one can say the ending could be seen coming for a long while, but still when it does arrive, it does not feel manipulated. If the options in front of people are limited, then there are only a few paths they can take.

The Swedish film Let the Right One In could be described as a coming of age tale spliced with a vampire story. But that generalization does not do justice to the fact that the film beautifully takes components from each genre and seamlessly integrates them into an original story. 12 year Oskar meets 12 year old Eli. But as Eli mentions, she is "more or less" 12. In fact, her real age is unknown as a vampire is trapped within 12 year old Eli's body. And the vampire may not even be female. The film highlights their innocent friendship, while depicting the blood lust that gargles within Eli's body. The thirst drives her to kill. Initially, an accomplice helps fetch human blood for Eli in a method akin to animal slaughter -- slitting of the throat and letting the blood drip out. But when the frailty of the accomplice takes him out of the equation, Eli is left all alone. Which is where her friendship with Oskar takes on more meaning -- two lonely people in a cold, snowy landscape.

The cinematography is very good and the best part of the film is that it does not descend into any end of the world scenarios but simply focuses on the solitary vampire's friendship with a human. Also, the film does a good job of making full usage of the screen. For example, in a scene where Oskar is being submerged into a swimming pool by a bully, the camera stays on Oskar's face but in the far end of the screen, we can see that help is on the way.


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Sachin said...

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