Monday, October 01, 2012

Films: Foreign, Bolly, Animation and Beyond

On the flight back from India, I watched Thermae Romae, a two-period piece in which an architect who designs baths in ancient, royal Rome time-travels back and forth to the baths of modern middleclass Japan. It is a great premise to tie these two baths-immersed cultures together across time and space, and a casting challenge to have grand Roman scenes with Japanese actors in them. The film is comic with a Roberto Benigni like Banana, a toga that becomes the Samurai garb, the  line by a Japanese traveler to ancient Rome, "That Marcus?" and others. This is not the top example of Japanese filmmaking, but it occurs to me that Bollywood that "draws" from the west should turn to Japan too. I was told, I should address this tip to SRK.

In addition, I watched Kitsutsuki to Ame about a woodsman in a remote town who gets drawn into the making of a Zombie movie by a visiting film crew. One learns "Zombies cant run" and there is a fun finale when humans and Zombies wait for a break in the rain for the shooting to begin. I also watched a couple of other HK/China flicks like Dai Chui Bo.

Time traveling to present times. Like last year, I had passes to the Palo Alto International Film Festival (PAIFF) that just concluded. Last year I used it for VIP parties and lounges, panel discussion with filmmakers and other things, but this year I mainly used it to watch childrens movies. Palo Alto has an interesting place in film making history, and their promo has the sprinting horse, a reminder of the first killer-app for making moving pictures.

This is Palo Alto, no event is complete without local entrepreneurs and new startup technologies. Before the films, you could use theater wifi to access and play trivia, and results appeared real time on the screen! Also, the FF showcased some nice animation technology, melding handdrawn animations into disney-esque and 3D.


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