Tuesday, December 13, 2011

AIFF 2011: An Apartment in Athens or Love You To Death?

[UPDATE:  It's not totally clear, but this could be the North American premiere of Apartment in Athens.]

I haven't seen Love You to Death because it was playing at the same time as In The Shadow.  The good news is that Love You to Death was the runner up for Audience Choice Award for best feature at the festival, so it is playing again tonight in Best of the Fest.  The bad news is that it's playing at the same time as Apartment in Athens.

Both appear to be very good films.  Love You To Death got the Audience Choice Award Runner Up for feature films at the Anchorage Festival.  Apartment in Athens was Best Film at the Rome International Film Festival in October. 

Love You to Death begins at 7pm and An Apartment in Athens at 7:15pm.  Both are at the Alaska Experience Theater (mall at C St. and 4th Avenue.)

I saw about 15 minutes of Apartment last week, before the disk started stopping.  It got so bad they shut it down and tried a second disk.  It did the same thing.  I've talked to Brandon McElroy who was the technician.  I'll do a post on the topic of glitches during the film festival, an issue that has bothered film makers and audiences alike over the years.  Brandon has given me some explanations for why it happens and what we'd lose in order to make it rare.  And film makers I've talked to say it also happens in much bigger festivals than Anchorage.

Because Athens didn't get played during the festival, they are showing it again tonight.  If they can get a disk that works.  (It's in PAL format which limits the machines here that can use it.) 

Apartment in Athens

Image from Appartento Ad Atene
Athens felt like a very good movie for the short part I saw.  It takes place in WW II when a German officer moves into the apartment of a Greek family.  The officer takes a fancy to the young ten year old daughter.  The father is troubled but hopes that with the officer in the house, they might get better food rations.  The mother is upset, but knows how to act properly in front of the officer.  The 12 year old son doesn't hide his anger.  And that's about all we saw.  But it had the makings of a powerful movie.  And a translated Italian review suggested this was a film which explored deep issues about freedom and subservience.

The image - the only page of the movie's website - says it won Best Film at the  Rome International Film Festival last month. An Italian Website says its world premier was to be at the Bombay Film Festival (ironic that Yuki Ellias, actor in Love You to Death, is from Bombay).  It was scheduled in Bombay October 14.    It's based on a 1945 novel by Glenway Wescott.  From Wikipedia:

. . .  Wescott was born on a farm in Kewaskum, Wisconsin in 1901. . . He studied at the University of Chicago, where he was a member of a literary circle including Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Yvor Winters, and Janet Lewis.  Independently wealthy, he began his writing career as a poet, but is best known for his short stories and novels, notably The Grandmothers (1927). He lived in Germany (1921–22), and in France (c.1925–33), where he mixed with Gertrude Stein and other members of the American expatriate community; Wescott was the model for the character Robert Prentiss in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.

. . . Apartment in Athens (1945), the story of a Greek couple in Nazi-occupied Athens who must share their living quarters with a German officer, was a popular success. From then on he ceased to write fiction, although he published essays and edited the works of others. In her essay on The Pilgrim Hawk Ingrid Norton writes, "After...Apartment in Athens, Wescott lived until 1987 without writing another novel: journals (published posthumously as Continual Lessons) and the occasional article, yes, but no more fiction. . .
[See further comments made after seeing the whole movie here.]

Love You To Death
An Anchorage friend who was born and raised in India had high praise for Love You to Death.  It's not a typical Bollywood film, but an alternative look at the same old stars and same old ways of making Indian movies, she said.  It's in Hinglish - a mix of Hindi and English.  As you can see in the video below, the star's English is excellent.  There are subtitles when needed. 
Here's the video I got of Love You To Death actor Yuki Ellias when she was in Anchorage last week.

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