Monday, March 25, 2013

Phil attends CINEQUEST 23: Day Twelve-March 9, 2013

This is it folks! The official last day of the Cinequest 23 Film Festival! Tomorrow the festival will be having its Encore Day, but before I get into that, I have another four films to review.

I started my day off at the Camera 12 where the first film I saw the documentary LA CAMIONETA: THE JOURNEY OF ONE AMERICAN SCHOOL BUS. The film details on how several decommissioned American school buses are exported down to Guatemala. Once there, the buses are repainted and repaired to become the brightly-colored camionetas that takes its citizens to work. The documentary focuses on one particular bus that is reborn as a camionetas. Also highlighted in the film is the fact that since 2006, nearly 1,000 camioneta drivers have been killed "for either refusing or being unable to pay the extortion money demanded by local Guatemalan gangs."

This is one of the one reasons that I really enjoy watching documentaries. It tells a story about real people and events, topics, issues, and dreams. It was informative as well as entertaining! Today was the last screening but you can visit the film's official website at as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

The second film I saw was the romantic comedy MOLLY MAXWELL. Poor little Molly (Lola Tash) is an art student who is having a hard time picking out her extra-curricular elective. When she finally settles on photography, her teacher Ben Carter (Charlie Carrick) becomes her mentor. However, things begin to get complicated as both fall in love with each other. Dealing with life, love and growing up, Molly must decide on how to handle it all.

This Canadian film was really a breath of fresh air. First you have the incredible performance by both Lola Tash and Charlie Carrick, who have great on-screen chemistry which creates some intense on-screen heat! Then you have the talented director Sara St. Onge (making her feature film debut) bringing this tale forbidden love and teenage angst to the screen. Third, a film that deals with the hot topic of student/teacher relationships and it's treated with a level of believability and honesty. This was a very entertaining film to watch! I loved it! Again today was the last screening but you can visit the film's official Facebook page and also on Twitter.

Film number three for today I went back and saw MON AMI again for the following reasons. First off, it's funny as Hell! Second, I had heard that it wasn't going to play on Encore Day so I had to see it again. Third, I wanted to experience watch the film with the day crowd, which is different from watching it with the midnight crowd last night. As you may or may not know, crowds that go to midnight shows are waaayyyy different that those crowds who watch movies during the day. Midnight crowds are louder, more rambunctious, more vocal, and more alive. However, the people I saw the film with were just as loud and rambunctious, plus they all laughed hysterically! Overall, I was really happy to see so many people laugh to this great dark comedy!

And in case you couldn't guess, this was the film's last screening. Make sure you check out the film's official website at and follow the film on Facebook and Twitter!

For the forth and final film of the day, I made my way to the California Theatre for the festival's closing night screening of MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN. Before the film, Cinequest co-founder Halfdan Hussey came out to announce and congratulate the award winners, which in my opinion, every film was a winner! This was the first Cinequest that I attended where every film I saw was fantastic! This year was one of the festivals ever!

Then it was time for the closing night film. The screenplay was written by Salman Rushdie, which was based on his novel of the same name. "At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, as India proclaims independence from Great Britain, two newborn babies are switched by a nurse in a Bombay hospital. Saleem Sinai, the illegitimate son of a poor Hindu woman, and Shiva, the offspring of wealthy Muslims, are fated to live the destiny meant for each other. Their lives become mysteriously intertwined and are inextricably linked to India’s whirlwind journey of triumphs and disasters."

The film was directed by Deepa Mehta, who has helmed some amazing film such as FIRE (1996), EARTH (1998), BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD (2002), and WATER (2005). She did a really fabulous job of directing the film, which Rushdie has claimed that his novel was "unfilmable." She proved him with her talented gifts. It features some great compositions, some breathtaking views of India, and an interesting love triangle. After watching the film, I felt that there was more to the story that what was shown on screen. Granted, it's common law that the book is always better than the film adaptation. So while it was a good movie, it wasn't great, but I was entertained, so I liked it. Make sure you check out the film's official website at

After the screening, there was an on-stage interview with Rushdie, which he not only talked about his most famous novel, but also the fatwah against him, "The Satanic Verses", and his special secret identity as Robert Anton (which is also the title of his memoir). Now while it was a interesting to hear Rushdie speak, I felt that the interviewee talked a little bit too much, and he didn't let Rushdie speak as much as he should have. But then again, that's just my opinion.

Soon after the interview, everyone in the audience made their way to the San Jose Tech Museum for the big afterparty! There was snacks, booze, finger foods, booze, dancing, booze, beer, wine, and more booze! Things got a little hazy after my fourth drink, but I know that I had a blast!

There you have it folks! That was the "official" end of the festival, which now brings my total screening to 54! Now there will be an Encore Day on Sunday, which means the festival will show the films that were the most popular as voted the audience's ballots. So make sure you come down and enjoy Encore Day with me this Sunday, March 10th. The Encore Day schedule is up on the Cinequest website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

No comments:

Post a Comment