VIFF 09: Day 3 10/04/2009
Day 3 kicked off with a Q&A with Charlie Kaufman. The session began with Kaufman describing his morning in Vancouver and using it as an analogy for his process as a writer. He set off from his hotel to walk the Sea Wall, which wasn't completely successful as he became lost not long after. That he was able to use this mundane experience in such a creative way is a testament to his genius. The moderator of the Q&A was a woman named Helen De Toit (or something like that). She was absolutely awful. Her questions were irrelevant and it took her several minutes to phrase them. She took up so much time that there ended up only being 10 minutes for audience members to ask Charlie something. Luckily, Kaufman did keep things interesting, and overall it was a good experience.
Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
Continuing the trend of mixed results at VIFF, Air Doll was an uneven feature. The story is about a blow-up doll that comes to life. It got off to a strong start, with a good score and beautiful photography. Air Doll certainly requires a suspension of disbelief, but that was not an issue for me. I loved the first half, and admired it's quiet beauty and understated sadness. Among other things, Koreeda seems to be suggesting that if we were able to see the world for the first time again, we would come to appreciate it more fully. The film is bittersweet and romantic, but contains subtle touches of darkness which hint at other themes. As Air Doll continues it begins to fall apart and Koreeda's control over the multiple things he wants to say unravels. Still, based on how solid it is in the early-going, and a considerably memorable final shot, I'd give the film a mild recommendation. With all the other great foreign films, however, it may not be worth the extra effort.
posted by adam cook