Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Annecy Film Festival

I had the immense pleasure of attending the Annecy Film Festival last month.  Le boyfriend was an invited guest, and I was lucky enough to tag along with a guest badge and my hotel costs covered.
The festival runs for 6 days and it's too immense to see everything, let alone blog about each aspect with the attention it deserves, so I'm just going to run through a few of my personal highlights from my first (and hopefully not last!) time at this amazing festival.  I linked to everything I could find online.  I really hope you get a chance to see all of these films!
My absolute favorites were almost all from the Shorts in Competition category:
The Dam Keeper - Do not miss this short film.  Everything about it is delightful and touching and tasteful.  It will give you ALL the feels.  Bonus: it's quite possibly the most beautiful digital animation I've ever seen; the lighting and textures give it the feel of Pixar's digital concept art.
Hasta Santiago - I got a little teary in this one.  Really nice traveler's story
TempĂȘte sur anorak - what my French friends would call "hysterical".  They don't mean it as a compliment, but I do.  This film is fun and crazy.
Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2 "Time"
Savages "Marshal Dear"
Timber - Cute animation and a horrifying story.  It walks that perfect line between comedy and sheer horror that has you bursting into shock-laughter.
Le Bien Chasser "Derrick et la Grosse Peche"
Les Kassos - This series shows beloved fictional characters revealing their major issues at the desk of a social worker
La Buche de Noel
La Faillite
Man on the Chair
La Petite Casserole d'Anatole
Cheatin' - the new Bill Plympton feature film
Moulton og meg
Grace Under Water
Histoires de bus
Rainy Days
Le Sens du toucher - Romantic!
The Missing Scarf
There were also a number of commercial shorts that I really liked.  Even if they were advertisements, and maybe more mainstream / derivative than the short films in competition, they often had REALLY high production values (no doubt from those sweet, sweet commercial budgets), plus more straightforward/logical stories.
The Lanskies "48 Hours"
Alber Elbaz Puts on a Show for Lancome!
La Guillotine
Sour "Life Is Music"
Doc Meets Dorf "Title Sequence"
Peau "Instant T"
Biomasse
The Paper Kites "Young"
China, IL "Get Your Ass Back to School!"
Aldebert "Les Amoureux"
Phantom Limb - I actually saw this aaaafter the festival online, but it's great!  And I'm amazed that it was animated in Photoshop....it REALLY makes me want to try making my own short film.
Poom "Big Bang"
I got to see the The Tale of Princess Kaguya with members of Studio Ghibli, including Takahata, in attendance just two rows in front of us (!!!).  I heard a lot of disappointment from people after the movie, but the more I think about it the more I like it.  I think the original tale is very strange, and has some weird messages, and Ghibli made a great adaptation given that material.  It's funny how I knew the story, but I couldn't help hoping for a happy ending.  It's like walking into Romeo and Juliet; you can't help but hope somehow, this time, things are going to work out differently, and the ending is always painful!
I loved the way that the "penciled" art style lent itself to certain scenes and moods.  And I LOVED the character of Kaguya.  It was incredible watching such an in-depth coming-of-age story for a young woman.  I particularly liked her battle against her female mentor, the scene after her menarche, and her complex relationship with societal norms and her own impulses.  She developed a lot of different kinds of strength throughout her life, and I really liked the way that she was able to use formality/customs to her advantage and outwit her suitors.
I also got to see The Wind Rises, which I'd been putting off because I wanted everything to be just right when I watched what might be my last new Miyazaki movie.  I was afraid to watch it in France, because there would be a Japanese language track and French subtitles, and I didn't want to miss anything.  That turned out to be fine!  Between my rusty Japanese, my intermediate French, and the movie's clear storytelling, it wasn't confusing.  I also knew I would have MAJOR FEELS, and wasn't sure I wanted to watch the movie in public.  That...turned out to be accurate.  I was sobbing at the end, and went back to the hotel to clean my mascara off of my chin before the next screening.  Guh, so good but SO SAD.
There are movies projected on the giant lawn next to Lake Annecy each night, and whether or not you have a pass for the festival you can go and have a great time.  We watched Paranorman (dubbed in French lololol) with little picnic snacks and loved it.  Bonus: there was a dry summer thunderstorm at the same time there was thunder and lightning in the movie!
One movie we missed that I want to make sure to see in the future is Boy and the World.  I heard nothing but good things and I love the artwork I've seen from it.