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San Francisco, USA

 

Sundance notes 4

I had an awesome last day in Sundance, watching three award winning films back to back.

Tarik Saleh's The Nile Hilton Incident is an Egyptian film noir. Cop Noredin was investigating a murdered in an hotel. It quickly became complicated when it implicated an important businessman and politician in the country. The corrupted police office made sure it was a no go. All people involved, from a pimp to innocent witness found their life in danger. This tense thriller happened in the backdrop of turmoil of Arab spring in Cairo.

I probably wouldn't have picked up Dan Sickles's Dina by myself. But it turned out to be a sweet documentary about two a middle aged couple. Both of them are poor and have some degree of developmental disability. The crew followed them when the decided to get engaged and later married. Two unsexy middle aged people is not going to be very photogenic on screen. Still it is inspiring to see how they deal with life and their marital issues.

I Dont Feel At Home In This World Anymore
I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore

The Grand Jury Prize went to Macon Blair's I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore. It is an absolutely brilliant film. Nurse Ruth already had a bad day. Then she came home and found it burglarized. When police did not act on the information she found, she went with her quirky neighbor to retrieve the stolen objects on their own. The result is an unpredictable adventure that is at the same time hilarious and brutal. Macon is a genius in the style of Quentin Tarantino. This is my top film from the festival.

2017.01.29 comments

 

Sundance notes 1

Really excited to be in the Sundance festival for the first time. I saw some good movies and met a bunch of people. Here are some of my notes

Sundance 2017
Sundance 2017

The first event I've attended was a writer's panel. There were a number of accomplished writers and directors. One of them was Gina Brice-Bythewood, whose film "Beyond the lights" is one of my recent favorite. The theme was writing TV episodes. For the longest time I have not paid much attention to TV. I thought they were lesser work compare to feature film and they were low quality stuff for mass consumption. But some writers actually prefer that because they are in longer format and have more space for character development and creativity. This reminds me I have really enjoyed some European TV series like "Borgen" and "The best of youth" greatly. From now on I should seek out TV drama more.

One of the panelist Marti Noxon noted a dysfunctional family background is a fertile source of inspiration. She made a good point in a clip of a martial squabble with a lot of tension.

In the evening I got a free ticket for Novitiate, about a young woman want to devote her life to become a nun in a convent. I am really a fan of Christian theology. I thought I will hate the movie. Instead the movie gave me insight into their state of mind. The young ladies were turning their back to ordinary life for their ideal, to live their entire life devote to Jesus. To be accepted by the convent they have to live their life according to strict order and traditions.

Interestingly I resonated with them to some extend. I have elected to join a Buddhist Monastery for a week. We actually shared quite a few things. We arose by early morning bell at 4 or 5 to start religious practice. There were a lot of attention for a period of silence for inner reflection. There are ritual that might seem odd, but you practice without question nevertheless just because it is an institution evolve over hundreds of years.

And for these young women, there were also normal human feeling, one that is completely counter to the order of the convent that have no way to express and have great difficulty to handle at all.

2017.01.28 comments

 

Presidio Run

Today I made another long run in Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge. There are so many wonderful sights on way, it is just magical! I ran by Andy Goldsworthy's Wood Line. I love love love this sinuous log line emerged in the forest! Then it was the Yoda statue. Fans have setup a impromptu memorial for the just departed Carrie Fisher by the fountain. From there it headed down to the beautiful lagoon at the Palace of the Fine Arts. Then the open air by the shoreline in Crissy Field. Then climbed up the giant bridge structure and crossed the water of the beautiful bay. It returned by the scenic cliff side trail on the Pacific coast. Finally back to the wood to another sculpture of Andy Goldsworthy - the Spire. The 10.5 miles loop has to be one of the best trail in the world!

Tribute to Carrie Fisher
May the peace be with you
Fans pay tribute to Carrie Fisher

It rained though. The half Marathon I am training for is in February. So there is a chance it might rain that day as it is in the rainy season. I might as well get some practice now. Fortunately it was only some scatter showers. There were muddy puddles to jump through and misty spray hit us on the bridge by passing trucks. But there was also some clear sky that was just so gorgeous to see.

There were some hills at the end. I could still run. But climbing hills of any grade became a challenge. I worried I might hurt my ankle if I pushed for it. So I walked most of the slopes instead. This is the longest run I have done thus far. I was pretty drained but in high spirit after this great run.

2017.01.02 comments

 

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