The aspect of most film festivals is creating different voices but it is also key in showing different perpectives. A short two day jaunt to Fort Lauderdale Festival highlighted this structure with a texture of 3 separate foreign films with definitive points of view.
If & When This Israeli relationship drama offers many mainstream elements but also shows an interesting transition in the idea of modern life in Israel. It almost perceives as more western in its values while still maintaining a sense of Israel identity. The plot is fairly benign but speaks to the psychology at hand. The two leads show an undeniable chemistry with the longing protracted in certain scenes which eventually resolve to an expected ending.
The Bird Was A Bird This Afghan drama is an interesting character drama and perspective of a man trying to make his way in modern Afghanistan. What really jumps about it is the contentment and sense of duty the lead character has to being a good son and possibly a good husband with a girl he is pursuing. But one begets the other. In order to be able to propose marriage, he needs a decent job. He is recruited for a job outside the city, only too late to realize as a teacher at a religious school, it is front for holy warriors and suicide bombers. The psychology is interesting especially showing how the recruiting happens and a sense of dread where lives are boxed in the corner. His push and pull against certain tyranny is understandable and the final resolution is finite despite being applauded does not answer or address the underlying question.
The Young Offenders This Irish comedy with such a heavy accent that is at times hard to catch every quip is an enjoyable romp about two dolts who just want to get by and try to make it big. Like Begbie and Sick Boy in Trainspotting with a bit more innocence and less propensity to violence, their adventure from their spot in Cork to the Western coast of Ireland is like “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” replete with weird characters and just inane gags that while childish tends to create a guttural laugh. Life isn’t this simple but at least with these guys, even though they are slightly out in left field, they enjoy the ride.
By Tim Wassberg