By Will Ashton | firstname.lastname@example.org| @thewillofash
Well, the film festival is already halfway over, and as things are winding out, I only got to see two today instead of my average three that I have been pulling for the past couple days. Oh well, the movies themselves were good enough, as you can (or should) read below. And, of course, keep coming back as I finish up my coverage of the fest tomorrow and Thursday.
I Am a Visitor in Your World | Directed by Miguel Silveira | Not Rated
Miguel Silveira’s I Am a Visitor in Your World is unique for one reason in particular: it is both a fictional narrative and documentary—at the same time.
I don’t mean like The Thin Blue Line, or even like Bernie. I mean, this movie tell one cohesive story, but it mixes the footage between recreated footage, real documentary footage and poetic recreations of blog writings written by Rebecca Babcock, the focus of the film, as they delve into her battle with poverty and colon cancer—before she even reaches the age of 30.
There is no mistaking the amateurish nature of the film. In particularly every level—whether it be the editing, or the low-res camera, or even the acting and directing themselves. But, through it all, there is both a sense of earnestness and genuineness that keeps this movie afloat.
In particular, it is Rebecca’s charm that makes you root for her more than anything. She is such a sympathetic, down-to-earth figure that is both realistic and likable. As she struggles and opens up more and more to the audience, it’s hard not to be moved. Especially when the final, bittersweet final note of film hits its chord.
The scenes that shine the most are the ones that are between Babcock and her mother (who, in fact, was in attendance during the screening). They are both real, meaningful and pack the punch that they need to make it worth their viewing.
Even if it is slight and not especially true in earning its intentions, I Am a Visitor to Your World is a sweet-hearted, touching little movie that, even when it becomes more personal, looks like something you would easily watch on YouTube.
Particle Fever | Directed by Mark A. Levinson | Not Rated
There are many things that I don’t know about. Probably more than I am willing to admit. But I will be more than willing to confess that I know next to nothing about physics.
I barely made it through my high school course on the subject, and that was really only because I had a pretty awesome teacher. I even took a physics-based course in college. It didn’t go very well.
Needless to say, I worried about this as I entered Particle Fever. Will I be a bubble of confusion for an hour-and-a-half as they talk about stuff that is way over my head? Although there are more than enough things that were well above my understanding, Mark A. Levinson’s search at one of the greatest physics discoveries of all-time is an enjoyable study at an important piece of history.
While there are many things that will easily confuse anyone who is below a second-year Psychics student, Levinson has a good enough sense to make everything as layman in understanding as possible. Well-designed graphics fly and flow throughout the screen, giving even the average Joe off-the-street at least a decent comprehension as to what is going on in front of them.
But, in particular, what sells this movie is that it always keeps it about the people, and not the numbers. It would be easy to just regurgitate a bunch of numbers and facts about what is happening, which they do—at times—but Levinson always keeps the people surrounding these events in check. Which adds to our investment and interest in what is going on.
What is easily the film’s best feature, though, is its editing by film legend Walter Murch. The guy who edited little indies like Apocalypse Now and The English Patient. His skilled understanding of the film medium not only gives the movie a good sense of plotting, but it also gives it its much need sense of immediacy. Even though Levinson would have crafted a fine film without him (most likely), he makes the movie have its real kick.
There is also some impressive sound editing and mixing throughout as well. Additionally, the movie knows to not take itself too seriously, giving nice little moments of levity and easy humor whenever it is needed.
Even if you don’t have a good understanding of Physics, one should be able to enjoy at least some of what is shown in Particle Fever. It’s a well-made, finely-tuned documentary that knows what it wants to say and says it well. Plus, it beats doing math.