Ebertfest, day two

Well, after traveling overnight Tuesday and staying up late for the movies on Wednesday, I was exhausted today. As a result, I intentionally skipped out on the first movie of the day (Munyurangabo, since added to the number one slot on my Netflix Instant queue, to be watched as Ebertfest homework upon my return home). I not-so-intentionally ended up also not making it to the second film of the day, The New Age, which is unfortunate because I was rather curious to see Judy Davis and Peter Weller in the film, and I heard that it went over very well at the screening. Alas, it is not on Netflix, but I feel hopeful that Scarecrow Video can help me catch up with that one as well next week.

So, well-rested again and ready to seize the late afternoon, I ventured out to watch the first part of the NFL draft and to down a couple of drinks before the evening’s screening of Apocalypse Now Redux. The drinks were necessary. I don’t do war movies unless I have a very, very good reason to (for example, The Hurt Locker/Kathryn Bigelow). I am the person who has never been able to make herself watch Saving Private Ryan. I am a disappointment to my mother for my avoidance of Band of Brothers. I once had a breakdown in high school after watching Galipoli in history class and then being expected to take an essay test on The Red Badge of Courage immediately afterward in English class. Older war movies that came before “realistic battle scenes” became necessary are sometimes okay—The Big Parade and The Bridge on the River Kwai are on my top 100 list—but anything past the 1960s is difficult. I had never seen Apocalypse Now, Redux or original. I was not looking forward to it.

I survived. However, I can tell you with confidence that I will never watch that movie again. Read lots and lots about it, yes. Rewatch, no.

Obviously, from a craft level, the movie didn’t disappoint. The scale, the action, the set pieces, the music and sound are all as phenomenal as I was led to believe they would be. Certainly the performances are strong, Martin Sheen especially. (Though, I would perhaps argue that for all Sheen does with the role, we don’t really know his character at all. This is a screenplay issue, and perhaps it is intentional. It’s one of the things I’ll be thinking about a lot as I reflect on the film and do a bit of research.) But really, this is not my kind of movie. As much as I can appreciate its “masterpiece” level components, and as curious as I am to know more about the production now that I’ve actually seen it, I will probably never have anything profound to say about it. I’m just relieved to be able to cross it off the list. Done.

I’m expecting tomorrow to be the highlight of Ebertfest for me. None of the three screenings for the day are skippable in the slightest. First, Departures, the Japanese film that won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscars. Then, Man with a Movie Camera with live music from the Alloy Orchestra (I LOVE seeing silent movies with live music!). Finally, Synecdoche, New York, which I can’t wait to see again—the movie screams for its details to be scrutinized on a big screen—and with Charlie effing Kaufman in the building for Q&A. Swoon.

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2 Responses to “Ebertfest, day two”


  1. 1 Rebecca April 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Brandi, have you read Heart of Darkness? It adds another level to AN. Or, shall I say, AN adds another level to H of D.

  2. 2 Brandi Sperry April 23, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I never had to read Heart of Darkness for school. A couple of years ago I bought it, but I couldn’t get into it and never finished. I will definitely be going back to check it out again now.


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