Cinequest Reprise

03|19|2010

Business or Pleasure, not both

The way I see it, laptops and sandy beaches are like tighty-whities and black socks (not that they always need to match).  Name one cocktail or tropical libation inspired by the guy who answers emails beneath palm trees and tucks his Tommy Bahama into his Dockers.  There are people who think working while on vacation is productive; to me it’s a half-hearted attempt at either one.

With that said, I did attend Silicon Valley’s 20th celebration of Cinequest Film Festival, originally with the intention of photographing Silicon Valley’s chic, but opted instead to sit back and enjoy the show.  Well, five shows – but whose counting really? 

Fashion in Film

Staying true to the feeling of this website I can’t write this post without some mention of fashion, my heart just won’t let me.  So I’ll be pointing out characters and their individual styles while discussing Cinequest. 

The Greatest, produced by Pierce Brosnan who also appears in the film opposite Susan Sarandon and Carey Mulligan, was by far the most star-studded of the five films. 

Mulligan plays Rose, a high school senior who, on the last day of school, finally speaks to her crush Bennett (Aaron Johnson) after four years of passing each other in the halls.  Their romance is cut short by a lethal car accident that leaves Rose the surviving member of the couple.

Bennett’s parents (Brosnan and Sarandon) are still in a state of disbelief when Rose appears on their doorstep revealing that she is carrying their late son’s child.  The film’s deep characters drive the story and explore the different faces of grief.

Brosnan plays Allen, a university professor who definitely dresses the part.  In a scene where he takes Rose and the rest of his family to their beach house, Allen sheds all traces of academia.  A navy blue poplin shirt and khaki club shorts tell everyone around him that he won’t be available for office hours.  The look is definitely a nod to the reemergence of Americana in fashion.

Upperdog is a Norwegian film that traces the life of twins separated by adoption. Axel lives a very posh existence with his adopted, upper-class family.  After he is betrayed by his girlfriend with his best friend, Axel sinks into a depression. 

The importance of appearance among the wealthy lead Axel into a ritual of crisp, white shirts and pressed, black slacks.  It’s a veneer that hints not only to his depression but the sterile environment in which he was raised.

Let’s fast forward to our fifth film, The Orange Girl.  Aside from being one of my favorites, this Norwegian tale of life and love received its own reprise on the final day of Cinequest.  Now, it’s Cinequest tradition to bring back a number of audience favorites (decided by ballot) for closing night and The Orange Girl made the cut, bravo!

Our hero, Jan, and his son Georg both fall in love with girls by chance meetings, albeit one generation apart.  For Jan he discovers his muse on the train ride to work carrying a basket of oranges and wearing a bright red trench.  The coat becomes a symbol that haunts him as he mistakes her for every woman who boards the train. For Georg, who develops the plot by reading his fathers letters of the orange girl, finds an orange girl of his own while on a cross country ski trip.

The film flashes back from Jan as a young man to Georg in the present day, paralleling each other’s journey of infatuation.  It’s a great opportunity to see Jan impeccably dressed in Nordic knit sweaters and business suits.  (I love how classic staples in menswear always keep a man in style no matter how far back the picture was taken.)

Now as a post script and to give this entry some visuals, we’re spotlighting Cerina.  She is a makeup artist whose work can be seen in such indie flicks as Glory Boy Days, Liquor Store Cactus, All About Dad (featured in Cinequest 2009 and Pacific Rim Film Fest) and she’s also worked with us here at Helium!

I love her punk rock, rockabilly motif and she rocks that beach cruiser almost like an accessory.  Way to be Cerina!

So to wrap up this Pentateuch of a blog post I’d like to tip my hat to all those involved with Cinequest, especially the volunteers.  You could tell everyone loved films and really helped make the event run smoothly.  Lines stretched to the end of the block at the California screening of Outsourced and by the time I locked up my bike and turned the corner every one of those people was in their seats.

The venues were amazing, specifically the California Theater with its handsome lobby furnished with touch screens gave filmgoers an interactive Cinequest experience.  Volunteers at this venue were especially accommodating to a nosy blogger poking his head into every corner.

And enough can’t be said about the films chosen for the festival.  I wholeheartedly believe that if I had a movie lovers pass as they call them, there would be not a one that I had a negative opinion about.

Once again thank you Cinequest for bringing so many mavericks together in one place and for instilling that spirit into Silicon Valley.  We’ll be looking forward to having you back next year.

***All photos taken from Cinequest website except the last

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