Thursday, April 26, 2007

Atlanta Film Festival - Days 6 and 7

The Atlanta Film Festival continues at its 'official venue', the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas. I'm going to 'write off' Day 6 as "Intermission". I attempted to start a couple of the shorts programs, but just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to stay for the complete programs. But resting up did prepare me for a couple of avant-garde documentaries on Day 7 about cows and horses and what we, well, what SOME people have done to them...

"Milk In The Land" (dirs. Ariana Gerstein, Monteith McCollum, US, 2007, 90 mins.) This is a uniquely filmed documentary about more than you may ever wanted to know regarding the U.S. consumption of milk. It details the socio-political and economic settings that have promoted milk, with little if any regard to it's actual nutritional value. It is a fascinating look at how morality and politics will use any tool at its disposal to further the cause, and how eagerly an industry will align for profit. Subject matter aside, the directors give the film a 'Brothers Quay'-like feel to it. Shot almost entirely in black and white and using animation to describe the first century (1840-1940) of the dairy campaign, and the inventive use of intertitles, it is always visually stimulating, even when discussing grass-vs.-feed for cows. Its message is in short: milk really isn't that is evil, but the institutions surrounding it are.

"ZOO" (dir. Robinson Devor, US, 2007, 80 mins.) Well, this is a disturbing little ditty! The film focuses on a group of men in Tacoma, Washington, who had sex with horses and refer to themselves as 'zoo' (aka zooaphiliacs). There. If you can get passed that, you will see a beautifully filmed and paced documentary-dramatization. The subject matter itself is handled with tasteful objectivity, really. The cinematography is gorgeous if not breathtaking at moments. Even the soundtrack is dreamily lyrical. But once the film reaches the climatic event which exposed the group of men, you realize what a dark little tunnel you've been led through. The director takes a very mature and nonsensationalistic approach in trying to make sense of something that starts as simple as people anthropomorphizing with the household pet, but was taken to erotic and monstrous extremes with these horses. There are no gratuitous beastiality shots, though there is a brief moment of 'home video' that some may find VERY disturbing. At least i did...

Maxxxxx says
re "Milk In The Land": "Breakfast?"
re "Zoo": "I love you!"

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