Friday, March 16, 2012

Agrarian Apologetic Cinema

Cinefest 32 Day 2

I slept through my wake-up alarm this morning and got a late start, missing the first two shorts of the day.

I did make it over to the fest in time for...

His New Lid (1910) is a humorous little short about a man buying a new hat. Losing his new hat causes some grief for his loved ones. ***

Classmates (1914) is an enjoyable love triangle dilemma that leads rivals to military school, then adventures in the Amazon. ***

Laughter (1930) is firmly in the love and laughter vs. money and comfort line of affair movies. There are some fantastic moments in this, notably a scene in which two lovers break into a house and wear the bear rugs they find. That scene is as fantastic at portraying careless joy as just about anything else I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I can't get behind this film. The love vs. money theme is simplified and adultery in service of feelings is lauded as a virtue. ***

I was in a bum mood after Laughter. Even fried chicken for lunch couldn't bring me out of my funk.

Luckily, the first afternoon film succeeded in lifting my spirits.

Laddie (1940) is full of homespun pleasures. A meddling little sister is the source of much delight here. It's hard not to enjoy seeing a good little girl whose biggest flaw is that she loves her family too much. It's a fact that this little girl steals every scene she's in. The rest of the cast, though, holds their own. Just a delight from start to finish. ****

Tillie's Tomato Surprise (1915) was the film I had been most looking forward to for the title alone. It's got a few good laughs. It was a disappointment only because I had unfair expectations for it. ***

Partners Three (1919) was a nice surprise. The second half of the film especially holds up well with its desert photography and well-earned character camaraderie. ***

Just Nuts (1915) is a funny plotless short. A bunch of guys run around swapping girls and bopping each other over the head. Good stuff. ***

A Deep Sea Panic (1924) has the funniest dog moments I've ever seen in a film. It's all around funny. ***

Astray From the Steerage (1921) continued the afternoon funny. The comedy here centers on immigration and prohibition, two comedy goldmines! ***

I skipped the 5:00 feature and then skipped the rest of the night. I've discovered that I'm not quite up to the task of this sort of non-stop marathon movie watching. My eyes needed a break. I walked around the carousel mall for a couple of hours, bought some comics, ate some food, resisted the temptation to see John Carter, went back to the dealers' room one last time, then came back to the hotel and read a little. Now I'm writing this while half-watching Grimm (it's not so good) and thinking about sleeping.

Goodnight comrades.

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