Friday, March 2, 2012

Phil attends CINEQUEST 22: Day Two -February 29, 2012

Hello again everybody and welcome to Day Two of my trip to the Cinequest Film Festival! Tonight I saw three films: one drama and two comedies. So let's begin shall we?

WHITE AS SNOW (KAR BEYAZ): Directed by Selim Gunes, the film's about a twelve-year-old boy named Hasan who lives in a small, remote village in the mountains by the Black Sea. He tries to help his mother out by providing her and his two brothers by trudging through severe cold to sell ayran (a yogurt-like drink) to passing travelers. However, despite being a small village, there is enough drama to cause its people grief and heartache as love and loss nearly tear their community apart.

The film is told through an avant-garde, non-linear style rather than the tradition narrative form. Despite have some breathtaking visuals (the film's locations of the snow covered mountains and forests are just beautiful), the film was rather dull and didn't connect with me on a emotional level. I really didn't care about any of the characters until the very end. Also because it was told in a non-linear form, I found it difficult what was present day and what was a backstory. Not one of my favorite films at this years festival. The film will be playing again on Friday, March 2nd at 5:15pm and on Friday. March 9th at 7:15pm.

KING CURLING (KONG CURLING): Directed by Ole Endresen, this Norwegian comedy tells the story of Truls Paulsen, the greatest curling star that has ever played the sport. But when he is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD for you folks), he is banned from ever competing in the sport. To make matters worse, his friend and former coach Gordon lies dying from lung cancer. Now Truls must somehow overcome is OCD and put the team back to together in order to win the Norwegian Curling Championship and use the award money save Gordon's life. However, the rest of the team are just about as crazy as he is: one hasn't slept for three months because of he is strained relationship with his father who also is a Rod Stewart impersonator, one is a rabid bird watcher who lives in the woods has lost touch with people, and the other is a sex-crazed masseuse who sleeps with anything that moves. Oh did I mention that Truls ex-girlfriend tries to control his life by not letting him partake in curling and ends up dating the captain of the rival team? Yes friends, this is a comedy!

What makes this film so much fun is the absurdity of it all. Words cannot express just how hilarious the film is! With it's bizarre and eccentric characters, very clever script, solid directing and great acting, the film is one of the funniest films I have seen at the festival in over three years! Think DODGEBALL but with curling stones. So far my favorite film at this year's festival! The film will be playing again on Friday, March 2nd at 7:15pm and again on Saturday, March 3rd at 11:30am. Also check out the film's official Facebook page at

HAPPY NEW YEAR, GRANDMA! (URTE BERRI ON, AMONA!) Directed by Telmo Esnal, this black comedy is about a family who must cater their lives around helping out their old and demented grandma. Wife Martixu attends to her mother constantly, while her husband Jose Maria watches with disgust. He suggests they put her in a nursing home, to which she disapproves. At the end of his rope, Jose comes up with a clever idea: he will take Martixu on a vacation while their daughter Miren and her husband Kintxo take care of grandma, but in actuality they will be taking her to a nursing home. But no one suspects that grandma is an evil genius. She breaks out of her nursing home and lives it up in a hotel suite for the night. The kids track her down, only to make their lives a living hell. Soon grandma is causing havoc for the Miren and Kintxo, but he discovers grandma's true self and does whatever it takes to expose grandma for the insane, evil woman she truly is. When the family becomes desperate, they decide to kill grandma, but not if she kills them first.

This was one of the funniest dark comedies I have ever seen! It was also simultaneously one of the most messed up dark comedies I have ever seen! No one in the film ever suspected that grandma was this evil, and we the audience didn't suspect it either. The film was on the other end of the comedy scale from KING CURLING. Just a funny and sick dark comedy! The film will be shown again on Friday, March 2nd at 11:30am  and on Thursday, March 8th at 7:15pm.

What a fun-filled second day at Cinequest! Remember the festival will be running till March 11th so there's plenty of time for you to join in on the fun here in San Jose! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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