I was having too much fun / working too hard to take many pics but the closing Gala is finally over and we can all get on with our lives. The visual projections went super-well, I don’t think anyone guessed what the connection was (they were all credits from past closing gala films, isn’t that innnteresting?) but it gave the room that epic-ending feeling which was my purpose.
Anyway, here’s a few pics. This is me with Cathy Falkner, filmmaker David Vaisbord and Sheril Gelmon. Man, his hair is getting fabulous, like some movie star in a cartoon. Notice I took one more kick at the “I fuck the man” / Monkey Warfare t-shirt can.
This is Suzanne Ward, who assisted with video setup at the opening and closing VIFF galas. She is clearly having too much fun!
That machine was making enough smoke to scare people away. I wish i had got video of the wafting dance that Suzanne and i had to do to spread the smoke around… it was hilarious to us at least. We almost fell over, from the combo of the actual tricky wafting dance itself, with our laughter, plus the free booze.
Alright, it was a great party, the Rocky Mountaineer is a great space (it’s a big cavernous room but there are a few surprising nook and crannies which make a party interesting). I’m glad the VIFF is over, simply so I can get some rest, although I only saw 5 films (and I think two of them were Monkey Warfare, since I was doing Q & A). Dang, it’s hard to watch media while you’re too busy making it.
Le Petit Lieutenant was my favourite film this year. It’s a classic policier, with good character drama, an interesting murder investigation, and procedural shenanigans. I liked it when the rookie cop in homicide walked down to the narcotics office and found them playing with seized AK-47’s, drinking and taking pictures. Jalil Lespert is a new cop, fresh from the provinces, excited to hit the Paris streets, but leaving behind a hot, loving wife who wants to keep her old job instead of following his.
Nathalie Baye is absolutely amazing as the ex-alcoholic commanding officer. Her performance is very subtle, without the cigar-chomping that American cop bosses need to engage in. She takes command of crime scenes simply by her strong presence, and she has a relationship sub-plot that feels very real and intense. Lespert is good in his modern, charming French way, not like a gimmicky Jean-Paul Belmondo cool but smoother and more earnest. I really like his choices; the cocky, drunken bar scene is particularly good in relation to his more serious moments. He’s a versatile dude.
There’s also some politics – the mystery evolves among homeless immigrants, there’s a bar (!) in the police station that cranks up the alcohol issues, and one of Lespert’s co-workers is often singled out for being Muslim (France has like a million muslims). As I’m writing this it sounds maybe like art-film formulaism but it really was a lovely flick. It’s all in the mise-en-scene, the chemistry between the performers, and the shooting / editing choices, all made with an understated realism and style that really made me happy after seeing, for instance, Lenz, the Swiss / German drama which played too heavily on the hand-held-camera / improv / documentary thing, i.e. creative gambling, rather than sticking to a clear vision.