Monday, September 11, 2006

Boston Film Festival 2006 Day Three: Shorts and Open Window

Two quotes summarize the day:

"Remember when there was a Boston Film Festival?" - overheard during the screening of Shorts Program #1, where the projectionist projected a short with lush backgrounds too dark to see them, played the supplemental features instead of the actual short, adjusted brightness and zoom/positioning while the audience was watching the film, etc.

"Wow, this looks much nicer than my MTV Movie Award for Best Fight" - Robin Tunney, after the screening of Open Window.

In between, during Shorts Program #2, we got to see the new Patrick Smith cartoon, "Puppet". I really do like Smith's work a lot; "Drink" was one that showed up in several festival programs an was always entertaining. "Puppet" is darn funny and also dark as heck, despite Smith's cute style.

Oh, and before we get to Open Window, Homie Spumoni is now complete in the previous entry.

Open Window

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 10 September 2006 at AMC Boston Common #17 (Boston Film Festival '06)

The days of one's town or neighborhood having one cinema (or the TV just having a few channels), are long gone, meaning someone is much less likely to go in blind and just take whatever comes. People seeing a movie generally have some idea of what kind of story they're getting themselves into. So if you opt to see Open Window, you know that when the first five minutes include a marriage proposition cutely delivered and eagerly accepted, the characters are being set up to be knocked over.

The hammer, in this case, comes in the form of Izzy (Robin Tunney) being raped in her own home photo studio. Pater (Joel Edgeron) finds her locked in a close and takes her to the hospital, but like many rape victims she declines to file a police report. Peter is supportive, but the situation soon puts a strain on their relationship, as an emotionally scarred Izzy becomes reclusive and Peter finds himself unable to do anything to help.

Robin Tunney has some tricky work to do, since for a good third of the movie, her character just won't get out of bed, which has the potential to make for some less-than-dynamic scenes. We initially empathize with her, but Mia Goldman's script isn't afraid to have Izzy make less-than-optimal decisions, right from the moment she opts not to file a police report. Tunney manages to keep the audience generally seeing Izzy in a positive light, but also keeps the character from appearing a faultless saint. She is a victim, and deserves the audience's empathy, but we also want someone to find a way to jolt her out of her self-pity, even as the former makes us feel guilty about the latter.

Read the rest at HBS.

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