Sunday, June 3, 2012

Student film festival

A couple of years ago, I was driving around looking at the small towns in the farm country north of here. I stopped. Took pictures of an old school building. There was a group of boys 12- or 13-years-old. They were in a tennis court trying to see how high they could get a rubber ball to bounce. This went on and on. They weren't getting tired of it.

Usually, I feel bad that I can't share in the exhilaration of youth. This time, I felt so glad that I wasn't a tweenager. Imagine the sort of minds these kids had that they could spend hours bouncing a rubber ball.

I felt that way watching one of the movies at the University Film Organization film festival at the U of O. It was a documentary about skateboarders in Portland, Oregon. I didn't quite understand it. Apparently these people came to Portland--one from New Mexico--just for the skateboarding. They would take the bus to the top of a hill then skate down. Beautifully filmed with long tracking shots. I voted for it for Best Picture. I don't know how they did it.

But, in this case, it seemed both exhilarating and dreary. How did these people earn a living? Is this all they did? There were some teenagers among the skateboarders, but also grown-ups who should probably have been thinking about getting a job.
Among the other videos were a couple of movies about attempted college romance. One about a young man in love with a lesbian, another about nerdy young fellows hitting on chicks in the library with predictable results.

One violent film. A musician kills a mobster in self-defense, so now there are hitmen after him. They seemed to be using vintage revolvers as props. I suspect they were using "Action Essentials 2" for the blood spatter and muzzle flashes.

There were a couple of animated movies that were interesting. A couple of music videos.

But, again. I normally would have felt bad that I couldn't share in the exhilaration of youth, producing these beautifully made videos. They did give me a feeling of inferiority. The movies looked beautiful and they were all entertaining even if I couldn't quite identify with all the characters. But I had a vague feeling they had put in too much work into the wrong thing. I don't know what I would have preferred they do or what I would have changed. I'm probably all wrong.

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