July 28, 2010

Film Fest: Day Twelve

The Invention of Dr. Nakamats
Japanese inventor Dr. Nakamats purportedly holds over 3,000 patents, easily beating Thomas Edison’s 1,000-odd. He claims to be the inventor of the floppy disk, has a street, avenue and square named after him. He is approaching his 80th birthday and considers it middle-age. He’s a fascinating character and it’s difficult to know whether he’s for real, a fraud or a crack-pot. This documentary really doesn’t illuminate which.
Essentially being a “week-in-the-life-of” style documentary, we see nothing outside of the Nakamats bubble. Everything we find out about the man comes from the man. Perhaps I’m just used to more wide-ranging documentaries but I would have appreciated interviews with his family and other inventors, for example. There are a couple of glimpses into what may be the real Dr. Nakamats: an awkward hug with his daughter and upon receiving an electric shaver from his children for his birthday he still elects to get his shave at the barbers.

Wah Do Dem
You do have to give props to the two young directors for getting this made. Good on them for making a feature film with, what is obviously, a very small budget. It’s just a shame it couldn’t be… better.
It has a distinctly low-fi aesthetic; what this means is that it all looks very digital, not crisp and clear visuals, and the sound is murky and hard to make out at some points.
All this could be forgiven if the narrative was in any way interesting to me. It lost me at the start with a set of characters so painfully hip I wanted to slap them. And then none of the guys friends want to go on a free cruise? What's up with that?! So, our main guy (Max) ends up having all of his stuff stolen (pretty much my worst nightmare) in Jamaica and has to begin the cross-island trek to the US Embassy in Kingston. Despite there being a clear goal for our character, the film strangely wanders and drags.
If you can get yourself into the mindframe, I'm sure you'd enjoy this film. I know more than a few people have. I didn't.

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