September 28, 2011


Post-card painted on a wall. Just because.
Wow. This was my smallest day at the Fest to date. By the time I managed to get through the online ticketing queue system, most sessions were sold-out, let alone the ones I wanted to get to. So, no Juan of the Dead or A Boy and His Samurai (which won the coveted Audience Choice Award at the Fantastic Fest Awards) for me. Even the Animated Short film programme was sold out! So I was absolutely unable to get into the two big events today - The Fantastic Fest Awards and the Fantastic Feud and only got to two, two, films. 

The first of those movies was Clown, an outrageously hilarious comedy from Denmark. And just like New Kids Turbo this is a movie based on a popular TV show. Frank and Casper are heading off on a canoe trip, to get away from their girlfriends and to undertake "Tour de Pussy" down the river. Casper is the smooth-talking, ultra-cool guy with the great house and Frank is, well, a bit of a schmuck. He's not that good looking, or much of a snappy dresser. He and his girlfriend Marie have been asked to look after Marie's nephew Bo, while her brother is on his honeymoon. And Frank has just found out she's preganant, though she's doubtful about his father potential. So of course, he kidnaps Bo and brings him on the canoe trip to Casper frustration and anger. Things gro from bad to worse and even more worse. Clown is a comedy that pushes right up against the line of acceptability and often does a silly little dance over it. There are very smart choices made with the characters and story, every joke or set-up not merely being outrageously hilarious but also adding to the overall picture. With comedy, especially one using already well established characters, it can be hard to travel - whether it be national differences in terms of humour or "inside" jokes it can be difficult to get it over to a new audience. Clown suffers none of those problems. It's smart, taboo-pushing and, most importantly, funny. I can only wonder if the TV show is as out there.

If there simply must be a Robocop remake (and it seems ever more likely), Jose Padilha is one of the directors I would trust with it. His Elite Squad II: The Enemy Within is a cry against corruption in Brasil, masquerading as cop-action genre fare. I'll own up straight away: I haven't seen the first Elite Squad but then you don't really need to to enjoy this sequel. This is a muscular, violence soaked film with plenty of smarts hidden away there. Lt. Colonel Nascimento is the head of BOPE, the shoot-first ask questions later Elite unit of the police. Diogo Fraga is a noted human rights campaigner, often railing against the conditions in prison and the violence of BOPE. These are two men on opposing sides of an ideological divide that are in constant conflict (Fraga even marrying Nascimento's ex-wife), but have more in common than they would have ever thought. Nascimento, for all his badass attitude, is a man who believes in justice. Cartels of drug dealers and the usual street level criminals are not the targets here; instead the targets are far more dangerous men: those in elected office whose pockets swell with the money of the poor. It's a tight film, with fascinating characters at the centre of it all and is not afraid to show the ugly side of Rio. Padilha is a man with a lot to say about his country; a man who is rightfully angered at the corruption he sees around him and that comes across in ever frame.

Even though it was a smaller day of films for me, it was still an awesome day. Clown was easily the funniest film I've seen in a long time and Elite Squad II had a lot to recommend it. Perhaps it was a good thing to have something of a rest day? Nah. I would've preferred to see more! More! Bring on tomorrow!

No comments:

Post a Comment