Doc/Fest 2013 Day Two

docfest

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Welcome to day two of our Doc/Fest coverage. Today is leading to an evening with Walter Murch, the legendary editor and sound designer most famous for his work with Francis Ford Coppola. We’re going to be at a screening of Apocalypse Now followed by a Q&A with Murch later tonight, but in the meantime there’s plenty more to focus on.

Our first screening of today is NCR: Not Criminally Responsible, a film which examines the murder of an innocent man by a complete stranger. As with yesterday, keep an eye on our Twitter feed (here) for the most up to date commentary, and check back here for more thorough developments throughout the day.

NCR: Not Criminally Responsible – Canadian filmmaker John Kastner weaves this tale of a mentally ill man who stabbed a complete stranger outside of a Wal-Mart in 2002. Attempting to chart the path of a figure normally forgotten once the headlines have died down, Kastner examines the condition of Sean Clifton, the aforementioned mentally ill man, as he undergoes rehabilitation over a period of 10 years.

Employing a constructed retelling technique to convey Clifton’s pre-attack state (reconstruction was one of the day’s recurrent themes, as we’ll discover with our next film), one might accuse Kastner of overly staging his film, with a Philip Glass-esque piano theme accompanying said moments. While it’s an undeniably engaging tale being told, at 90-minutes it all feels a bit much, and one can’t help but think that a 50-minute televisual platform might have been more suited (failing that, two 45-minute long episodes).

NCR: Not Criminally Responsible is at its most interesting when the film inadvertently breaks the fourth wall, as Sean encounters a stranger whilst out and about. This moment of humanity ensures that the film closes with a satisfying and moving conclusion.

The Act Of Killing – The reputation of Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act Of Killing most certainly precedes it. The film has been impressing any and all who it has come in to contact with it since it premiered at last year’s Telluride, and looks certain to attract an audience when it opens theatrically in the UK at the end of June.

Oppenheimer’s film is certainly unique. Dealing with the 1960s communist witch hunts of Indonesia, the film is privy to the most unique on-screen protagonists in some time; the actual perpetrators of the crimes that were committed all those years ago quite literally act out their crimes in complex dramatic reconstructions. The Act Of Killing will feature heavily in the next Periodical, but in short it’s a remarkably experience, and a note perfect examination of the nature of realisation. The cinema is integral to the film too.

The film played here in it’s extended director’s cut, which runs to 160-minutes. I’m told it’s a more emotionally satisfying work than the 120-minute theatrical cut. Would you like to see a fairly incomprehensible Vine of the post-film Q&A? There’s one here if you’re in to that kind of thing.

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BUG – Adam Buxton’s Best Of BUG touring show reached Sheffield tonight. If you’re not familiar with BUG, take a look at this video clip. BUG was the perfect tonic after two fairly difficult pictures.

Apocalypse Now – There’s nary a thing that can be said about seeing Apocalypse Now on the big screen that doesn’t come across as either cliche or hyperbole. Front row and centre, and introduced by Walter Murch, one cannot claim any fault whatsoever with seeing Francis Ford Coppola’s film play out tonight. It’s often said that you haven’t seen Apocalypse Now until you’ve seen it on the big screen, and that’s a summation that’s difficult to disagree with. 

Here are a couple of observations from tonight’s re-watch (the third time I’ve seen it theatrically, and the first digitally).

*Coppola’s film is essentially an emotionally-driven, neo-noir detective tale, which owes as much to Hammett as it does Conrad. I noticed allusions to Reed’s The Third Man for the first time tonight too. 

*The final bridge sequence is equal parts hell, Vegas and a fairground. 

*Walter Murch is a thoroughly nice man. And smiled graciously and shook my hand when I told him I was a big fan.

Here’s a Vine of the Q&A for the benefit of your enjoyment. 

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