Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunscreen Final Day Warp Up and Favorite Films

By David Salazar

So the party last night was a fantastic way to end the festival, but we still had one more day of screenings and a fantastic brunch at Ceviche (a tapas bar).
At Ceviche Tapas Bar
After that, "Messenger" screened yet again during the Action/Horror Block. After that we watched the end of another film block in an adjoining theater before capping the day with a screening of "Hush Hush" by Byron Gatt.

We will pick the three films that stood out on the day (not including films already screened yesterday). Then we will list our three favorites from the entire festival.

Favorite films of Sunday
"Hush Hush" (See Below)

"Mute" (See Below)

"Last Seen on Dolores Street"
As the film opens we are immediately introduced to a heartbreaking scene: a women euthanizing her dog in a clandestine hospital. After the death of the dog, our protagonist walks out to find a sign of a missing person. Moments later she is being chased by some street thief and the ensuing sequence and two major plot twists making this short film quirky, effective, and charming all at once.

Favorite Films of the Festival

Major Disclaimer here: We did not see all of the 50+ films screened at the festival. In fact we did not even get to half of the films in the festival, so these choices are only based on what we actually watched. The list is in no particular order either.

"Hush Hush"
The last film we viewed at the festival was also the most evocative and emotional way of ending it. The film is rather small in scope, but tremendously bold in imagination, risk, and execution. For starters, the film is completely told without dialogue. It has sound (which is used to incredible effect), but the film has no dialogue; not one single line. It tells the story of a young Conservative couple living a suburban life. However, their conflicting work schedules has distances them emotionally and sexually, leading each one to go down different paths in search of sexual satisfaction. What follows was labeled as "controversial" by some, but in my opinion is an honest look at people's sexual frustrations and motivations. And the silence is in no way a gimmick for those wondering; it emphasizes not only the couple's divide, but the characters' isolation from all major social interaction. Add in sublime technique in all aspects (as stated the sound gets incredible use), spot-on performances that really draw you into the characters' thoughts and emotions, and you have a truly polished film. Most importantly, this film bleeds honesty and intimacy; a film that is so personal that it can at times be difficult to watch. But if you stick with it all the way, the experience is as fulfilling as it gets.

Mute is an intimate film that portrays one character's growth during the course of one night. Adam has a crush on the girl who works at the Globe Coffee House. But every time he wants to tell her, he cannot find the correct words. On this particular night he is determined to finally reveal his emotions, but before he does so he meets Claire, a mute girl who seems to understand his plight. The rest of the film nicely develops Adam and Claire's friendship and his final attempt to reveal his affection for the girl behind the counter. This is a feel good film if there ever was one and one of the most enjoyable films we saw.

"Searching for Sonny"
The first film we saw was likely the most entertaining one as well. I stated in my comments on day one that "Searching for Sonny" was the perennial crowd pleaser. The film has it all: Hilarious performances, an intelligent screenplay with incredible twists and turns, gorgeous cinematography, perfect pacing. Polish is the word that most comes to mind. For more thoughts on the film click on my Day 1 impressions. 

Thank you for following us these last few days for our coverage of the Sunscreen Film Festival. I was impressed with the organization, the first class treatment, and the overall quality of both the films and especially the workshops of the festival.

If you missed the coverage from the previous three days, please click on the below links.

Day 1: (4/19)
Day 2: (4/20)
Day 3: (4/21)
Day 4: You are already on the page.

Thank you!

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