LA Film Fest 2013 – Day 3

The festival offered lots of varied activities and film on Saturday. While I was haunting the theaters – and occasionally the loung – my wife and 2 kids attended Family day, which was taking place at Nokia plazza. They then headed to Figat7th for a free outdoor screening of Brassland, a documentary about a trumpet festival in Serbia. The event also included a live performance and dance lessons.

woman and passenger directors

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, I started the day with the screening of The Woman and the Passenger (our review), a documentary about maids working in a Chilean sex hotel. Shot by two female directors (Valentina Mac-Pherson and Patricia Correa seen above) , this work avoided the trap of being gratuitous or sordid, providing some unexpected laughs. However,  because it always stayed on the surface, it somewhat lacked depth and failed at bringing anything new to the table. The two filmmakers were present for a Q&A afterwards, explaining they had actually worked as maids there for a couple months to understand their subject.

Affleck Mara

A mix of film noir and western, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (our review) is the most satisfying entry I’ve seen at the festival so far. With its beautiful photography, naturalistic direction echoing Terrence Malick and subtle performances by Casey Affleck (photo above), Rooney Mara (photo above), Ben Foster and Keith Carradine, the film was focusing on the aftermath of a life of crime, rather than going for the usual cat and mouse cop/gangster routine.

On the other hand, Johnny To’s Drug War (our review) proved to be quite disappointing.  While the director (one of my favorites) is usually good at working with ensemble casts, there was here way too many characters crossing paths, which ended up creating confusion. Also, it suffered from the absence of central likable or charismatic figures. As in most Johnny To movies, the payoff was a big shootout coming at the end – this ambitious and exciting sequence was the film’s redeeming moment.

We’ll be back mid-week for more coverage of the festival …

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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.