Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unemployment Perk #2 - CIFF

Thankfully, my schedule easily filled up last week. Happy hour on Monday, a lunch date, hot yoga one evening, Lost night, a late night dance party/push up contest, a dentist appointment, etc. I also happily took advantage of the great timing of The Cleveland International Film Festival and the VIP passes I had access to.

Monday I caught two films - North and Van Diemen's Land. North was a Norwegian film about a pill popping, boozing loser (my kind of guy) who had no other option than to hit the frigid wilderness to find his long-lost love and child. Van Diemen's Land was set in the 1800s and was about eight convicts struggling to survive the Tasmanian wilderness after escaping from a work-til-your-death camp. Cannibalism ensued. The theme for Monday night's movies: depression.

Upbeat films was the theme for Tuesday afternoon. I saw The Happiest Girl in the World (she wasn't) and Hipsters. The latter was a beautifully shot, big production musical from Russia. Hipsters, like today, didn't exactly carry a positive connotation. They were young adults who loved everything American during dreary 1950's Russia, but being pro-western was a strike against Communism. Colorful costumes, a love story and a cheeky surprise made me nod wholeheartedly when my friend said, "Loved it."

I saw two more films on Friday that lifted my spirit and reminded me that positive energy can come from due time. Spending the past week with wonderful friends and watching stories of great pain and great joy really helped me fully grasp the message of this year's CIFF intro; the ability of film to transport you to a different place, a different time, a different culture, even if for only 90 minutes. And that was exactly what I needed.

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