Monday, April 19, 2010

IFF Day 10: Howl, Nowhere Boy, Mr. Nobody

Howl features parts of the poem Howl. In animation. It also features re-created interviews with Allen Ginsburg, played by James Franco. And court scenes, with the actual transcripts from the obscenity trial faced by Howl's publisher. Poetry on film hardly ever works (or never works, save Bright Star). Trial scenes are boring, animations are tedious, bio-pic scenes are alright but not exciting (except the fact that it has the handsomest cast in recent times: Franco, Jon Hamm, David Strathairn, Alessandro Nivola).

Nowhere Boy is the feature debut of video artist Sam Taylor Wood. Surprisingly, it's a vey straight-forward (albeit very well-made) bio-pic about the early years of John Lennon in Liverpool. It's also very much about motherhood. What realy surprised me though (maybe I know too little about The Beatles) is how much of a troublemaker/womanizer/punk Lennon appears to be, especially compared to the younger-but-wiser McCartney. And how gorgeous Kristin Scott Thomas looks, even as she ages.

Jaco van Dormael's Mr. Nobody is a very strange and very beautifully made film. It starts in 2092, when the oldest - and the only mortal - human begins to tell his life story. What makes it interesting though, is that among the (possibly to large) parallel/possible stories he is telling, he doesn't know which one is real. Neither do we. Nor does it really matter. It could have been slightly shorter, but then again, I say that about every film over 110' long.

This Sheldon cartoon summarizes Mr. Nobody perfectly.

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