In case you thought I was only into esoteric, animated foreign films, you should know that I saw “Thor” this weekend in addition to more of those esoteric films shown at the AFI Film Festival.
“Thor,” which I saw in 2D, was WONDERFUL! I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was compelling, fun and kept me on the edge of my seat. The visual effects were stunning. Natalie Portman just keeps getting more and more beautiful. She’s sort of like Heidi Klum. You want to hate her because she’s so beautiful and talented but there’s something so totally likeable* about her that you just can’t. Of course Chris Hemsworth is gorgeous and completely believable as a god. “Thor” is a perfect weekend movie.
In the more artsy-fartsy realm, I saw a marvelous film from Canada (rumor was that it will be Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Film Oscar) called “Gabrielle.” The film is an engrossing peek into the life of a young woman with autism who also happens to have perfect pitch. The movie toggles between her struggles to be allowed to live on her own and have a “normal” life and her time with the choir – the Montreal Muses – as they prepare for a gala performance. The director did an amazing job of casting the autistic adults and then getting them so comfortable with the camera that you forget you’re watching a film. It feels like you’re observing their lives. That they shot it all in just 28 days is a feat! That they did this working with a cast that was more than half amateur actors is a miracle. The poignancy of Gabrielle’s story was offset by humor and a touch of romance. Sadly, this movie will probably never see the light of day in the US but if you get a chance to rent it, do. You’ll be glad you did.
I also saw the second of the short film program; it was much stronger than the first. My favorite was “Noah,” another film from Canada. It was a wonderful story about Noah who sabotages his relationship with his girl friend, told almost entirely by reading his Facebook posts. The film was very clever, current and original. Another film that was excellent was “Shadow of a cloud,” a Romanian film which examines a family coping with a death in the family and challenges to their belief in God and the church.
It’s been fun attending these screenings. I’ve had a chance to talk to many film fans as we waited, sometimes interminably, in line. It’s reassuring that people are eager to spend their weekend seeing these quirky, non-tent pole films from all over the US and the world.
* I debated over the spelling of the word. Per the internet: for the adjective meaning pleasant or attractive, writers from outside North America generally use likeable. Likable—without the first e—is the preferred spelling in U.S. English. In Canadian news publications that make their content available online (which aren’t always reliable for gauging actual Canadian usage), both spellings appear about equally often.
Both forms appear throughout the English-speaking world, however. In current British news publications, likable appears about once for every six instances oflikeable. In American publications, where the word in either spelling is less common than it is elsewhere, it is spelled likeable about a third of the time.
I suppose I’m out of step with most Americans then in that I think likable just looks odd, so I’m sticking with the e at the end.