In all likelihood, you probably have never heard of the 2007 French film Un Secret (or “A Secret”, for all you non-French speakers out there). Not only was the film solely distributed in its native country, but it is a wholly sub-titled picture that is performed, written, and directed by an entirely French ensemble. And the film’s anonymousness with American audiences is a shame, as Secret is a poignantly heart-wrenching affair whose anguish and tenderness transcends any language barrier. Through its untraditional plot structure and intimate character storylines, Un Secret intrigues the mind and satisfies the heart with vigorous poignancy.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival, a collection of outdoor adventure, environmental, and mountain culture films, rolled into town once again last Friday to dazzle a filled-to-capacity Kennedy Auditorium. This year’s festival, which ran from Oct. 31 through Nov. 9, received some 300 submissions from 37 countries. After the festival, the Banff Mountain Film World Tour hits the road, visiting 200 locations in North America and 28 other countries in a span of six months. Ithaca residents get to vote ahead of time on the eight to ten films they wish to see from the selection of 50 finalists, totalling about two and half hours worth of footage.
As someone who hasn’t even gotten around to seeing Slumdog Millionaire, Milk or The Curious Case of it Benjamin Button — no, not even one of its 165 minutes — I can say that I was very wary of taking time to watch the 80th Academy Award nominees for Best Live Action Short Film (you probably know them as the part of the ceremony during which you flip through the channels).
However, after viewing the nominated shorts, I can now say that these films are phenomenal — not perfect, but definitely worth anyone’s time (plus all five of them take up 65 less minutes of your time than Benjamin Button does, not to mention one of them is not even half the time of an episode of Gossip Girl!).
Visiting architect Peter Eisenman ’55 introduced a sceening of three short films by Michael Haneke on Wednesday including Funny Games.
In Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, a scene-by-scene Hollywood remake of Haneke’s own foreign feature, two effete young men who claim to be guests of the neighbors visit a family in their vacation home in order to borrow eggs. The shell of the family’s complacent bourgeois lifestyle quickly breaks open, however: The boys, named Peter and Paul, refuse to leave. Playing on the host/hostage dialectic, the boys subject the family to irrational games of “do unto others,” as if parodying the concept of Christian charity in the guise of a sadistic Tweedledee and Tweedledum.