Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 10–12

From jean to shining jean Proper cinema doesn’t highlight the differences that separate us, but the things that connect us. Blue Gold is one of those documentaries. It works hard to show us how tradition and culture can spread across the globe, all in a harmless, but somehow revolutionary pair of pants. Jeans were first known as Miner Pants, but then WWII came and the jeans went overseas. At first, the jeans were identified with cowboys, but thanks to Marlon Brando and James Dean, they became the symbols of counter-culture. Symbols that The Ramones and The Sex Pistols co-opted. Soon, these jeans were taken and marketed … Continue reading Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 10–12

Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 9

Long live freedom! Enrico (Toni Servillo) represents the leftist party in Italy, and no one seems to like him. When he tries to give a speech, a woman yells at him, accusing his of killing the party. Enrico suffers from depression, and he’s just about fed up with it all. Giovanni (also Toni Servillo) is Enrico’s twin brother, a poet, a philosopher, and possibly insane. When Enrico goes MIA, Giovanni is brought in as a temporary replacement, but possibly more considering that Giovanni doesn’t want to play the game and speaks his mind. His advisors thought it would spell disaster, but the people love him. The … Continue reading Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 9

Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 8

Lost in America The residents of Los Angeles have a nickname for the Antelope Valley. They not-so-lovingly refer to it as “The Awful Valley,” and that’s not far from the truth. A residential development from the 1960s, Lake Los Angeles was promised as paradise, a resort town for all those who came. It was a lie, as they often are, and now the failed development hangs on for dear life while the wind and desert threaten to swallow it whole. Francisco (Roberto Sanchez) hails from Havana, but he came to this country seeking a better life. What he has found is far from it. Looking for day-work … Continue reading Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 8

Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 5 – 7

The best laid plans of horses and men… Most film festivals boast a couple hundred features, an equal amount of shorts and a handful of panels to attend. Out of all of these, only two, possibly three are truly great. Of Horses and Men is one. A remarkable film that should not be described, only praised. Difficult to describe, impossible to forget should be sufficient enough. The story concerns a small community that inhabits a remote Icelandic Valley. In this valley, men and horses exist side-by-side in a sort of symbiotic harmony. Without the horses, the humans would starve, lack transportation, and entertainment. Without the humans, … Continue reading Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 5 – 7

Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 3 & 4

Day 2 of SDFF37 started with a bang and ended with a fire alarm. Halfway through The Clouds of Sils Maria, the fire-alarm went off and the theaters were evacuated (most likely due to a nearby beauty shop, which was flooding as I departed). The first full day of moviegoing ended with only an hour Sils Maria under my belt, but now it’s time to start the first of two weekends. A young woman lies on a rickety boat listening to punk music and rubbing Coca-Cola all over her body. Below, her boyfriend dives for squid, but finds a human skull. A few days later, the couple finds human bones washed up … Continue reading Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 3 & 4

Starz Denver Film Festival: Days 1 & 2

It’s been thirty-seven years since Ron Henderson and his friends started the Denver Film Festival, and the city and it’s citizens have benefitted greatly. Now with a premier sponsor, Starz Entertainment, the Starz Denver Film Festival boasts 12 cinematic days in the heart of the city screening 252 movies (features, documentaries, shorts, and music videos). I provided an introduction to 37th Starz Denver Film Festival in this week’s Boulder Weekly, but now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and watch the movies. What follows are not full reviews, but general thoughts from a bleary-eyed moviegoer hopscotching from theater to theater. Almost all of the movies … Continue reading Starz Denver Film Festival: Days 1 & 2