Ed is blogging the films he sees at the Tribeca Film Festival. To see his thoughts on day one, click here.
It should be noted that I’m mostly avoiding pix with star power and focusing on smaller films. You’ll see though in coming days that I will indulge in a few guilty pleasures – sometimes just because I can’t resist and other times because the schedule gives me little other choice.
Today was not as productive and it was sooooooo S-L-O-W! My first choice was Into Eternity, out of Denmark/Finland/Sweden and Italy, directed by Michael Madsen. The topic looked promising – a doc about Finland building an enormous underground repository for their nuclear waste, designed to last 100,000 years and to be kept safely buried through the ages. That message is endlessly repeated by the director and scientists. The info here could have been condensed into a rather short film. There simply is not enough of interest going on here. The director tries his best to infuse some drama in this dull film, but it doesn’t fit, and the talking heads are just too genial about the whole thing.
The second disappointment of the day was my third film, Buried Land by Geoffrey Alan Rhodes and Steven Eastwood out of Bosnia and Herzegovina/UK and US. This disjointed film about the 2005 discovery of a grouping of pyramids in central Bosnia, (debunked by many leading scientists), could not make up its’ mind whether it was a doc, a film-within-a-film, a narrative drama, a social commentary or a piece of avant-garde theatre. The mix of genres just doesn’t gel. Though there are some beautiful shots, it just isn’t enough to hold together cohesively. Even some of the dialogue seems to come out of nowhere. What could have been a good film about the exploitation and tourist-ification of a supposed national treasure is simply a muddle.
Which brings me to my middle film, from Iran: The White Meadows, directed by Mohammed Rasoulof. This metaphor of a chaotic country is served up as a poetic and mysterious story of a man who rows his boat from island to island off the salty coast of Iran, collecting heartaches and tears in bottles. Each village is isolated and the residents deeply superstitious. Their rites are ancient and relentless – there is no tolerance for deviation from the norm, and every island visited reveals another victim. Filled with startling imagry – the dark-clad villagers against the stark, white salt flats – the endless rowing against the pale blue water – a ritualized burial at sea – these shots stay with you and resonate long after the credits roll.