Day 3 (April 23th) : Encoffinement, Dizzy Vigor, and Synecdoche

 Delirium continued to reign on Day 3 and another “the lamb to the slaughter” situation started for us early in the morning. After saying goodbye to Michael  Philips at Breakfast room, I went into Pine Lounge on the 1st floor with my friends. Along with them, I was about to participate in panel discussion titled “The Global Web of Film Lovers”. Thanks to Roger’s blessing and Omer’s deft moderation, we went through well and 70 minutes was shorter than I thought. The video clip is available here, but I do not want to kill myself by watching it.   

 What’s the next? After brief lunch, Yojiro Takita’s “Departures” was shown and the response was amazing; I could clear hear audience’s reaction in the dark while deeply moved by the story again. The movie is delicate mixture of humor and drama with affectionate manner. The opening sequence sets the tone. Seriousness and embarrassment are so organically connected that we can’t help but laugh while respecting the situation of the characters.

 Cellist Daigo(Masahiro Motoki) and his wife(Ryoko Hirosue) move back to his hometown after his sudden unemployment. He is unwittingly employed at encoffinment company, and he has to clean and prepare bodies. He is reluctant, but he eventually finds himself as a very good professional in this business. We see several bodies. We see how people deal with the death of loved ones as the part of their life in various ways. And then, something happens, and the following sequences touched hearts of many audience. As the living, characters comes to accept the death as the part of the life just like eating food and so do we.

(From the Left) Michael, The Translator, Yojiro Takita, Grace, and Bordwell

 With cinematography beautifully capturing the change of seasons, lush music by Joe Hisaishi, and good performances by actors, “Departures” was an one of unexpected surprise to me early in last year. I had regretted about missing it in South Korea in 2008, but now I’m happy for having seen it in a big theater like Virginia. Even though the translator was needed, Q & A with Grace, Michael, the director Yojiro Takita was as entertaining as ever with nice catchphrase “I hate myself”. We used it a lot after that. I hate myself.

  What did I see from “A Man with the Movie Camera” with the Alloy Orchestra? Maybe it’s enough to say that I saw a fascinating cinematic experiment from a long time ago. Lots of images from the Soviet Union in the 1920’s flied on the screen with ferociousness fueled by the Alloy Orchestra. this is still dizzy even with our standard. People at that time were probably scared hell out of it and thought this was an insane movie.

(From the Left) Unidentified Panelist, Bordwell, Howie Movshovits, and two members and The Alloy Orchestra

 In the end, I saw the grandfather of all these flashy editing in modern movies. I marveled by its untainted vigor. I was blown away with my mouse hung open. Q & A with two members of the alloy Orchestra and Bordwell and Howie Movshovitz informed us a lot about the background behind the movie and, they also explained how they composed and played the music. They will probably play for “Metropolis” in next year. I hope they will take care of the volume problem. I had to stuff the tissue into my left ear as the buffer because the left speaker was too loud.

 Because “Synecdoche, New York” means especially special to Roger, I decided to sit near Roger along with Gerardo and Monica like the night before for “Apocalypse Now – Redux”. Some parts were clear to me and other parts were not so clear to me at first watching in South Korea in early 2009. But with the second watching, I needed some reorganization. Some of things I thought as clear as blue sky called for questions. Some of things I didn’t get it at first became more clear this time. And there were still other things I cannot explain well. Why did he constantly take care of his ex-wife house while distant from her?

Roger's Seat

 “Synecdoche, New York” is a depressing movie because it is about the life. Life is full of sadness and regrets and diseases. We try to control it like the director controls his play on the stage. We ultimately fail and become an instructed actor instead because of inevitable end. That’s a gloomy message, but Kauffman, in unconventionally moving way, reminds us that we’re not the only one who has to face that truth. And he intrigues us with a clever labyrinth of the life of one man, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

  Or is he just one man? The movie is full of character development, character exchange, and character transfiguration(The last part is perfectly embodied by Dianne Wiest). Kaden may be not so different from H.C.E. of “Finnegans Wake”, the book I will probably never understand. They say H.C.E. is Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, but it is also “Here Comes Everybody”. The movie is truly synecdoche itself, where time and space and people co-exist while being twisted and overlapped.

(From the Left) Michael Barker, Nell Minow, two unidenfied Panelist, and Charile Kauffman

 At Q & A, Charlie Kauffman and others talked about the production and other things. Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Picture Classics that distributed it, was generous to me during mid-fest party later. He told me about new Woody Allen movie set to be released this year. As a long time fan of Woody Allen, I came to have some expectation for it.

  In case of mid-fest party, I lost my way mistaking other guy for Omer. Fortunately, I was rescued by Roger and Chaz. While waiting for Chaz, I had to spend some minutes with Millie on the back seats, and Roger on the front seat.

 It was a dark and chilly night with no light in the car….. I could not say anything because I waited for somebody to say something…. But Millie was quiet…. And Roger coule not, of course…. I could hear Roger moisturize his mouth…. and I hear his quiet breath…. what do I have to say?…. What time it is?…. Was that the sound of scribbling on the note?…. what will he say?…..  Finally Chaz saved me from this difficult situation and she drove me to the party place. Ma’am, I owed you a lot. I’m still immature about being with people.

 Kauffman was there. Vincent was there. And Wael Kairy from Cairo was there. What a surprise! He made it! Before Ebertfest, I had just casually watched the news about Icelandic volcano, and then it suddenly came to mind during pizza party that Wael would have to cross the Atlantic Ocean(In case of Ali, he came to US earlier). We all welcomed him and he had a meaningful conversation with Kauffman midst of noises. Meanwhile, some freelancer reporter approached me and I told her everything I could tell her. After that, I got out of the place and came back to Illini Union for sleep.

(From the Left) Carol Iwata, Omar, Grace, Tom Dark(bottom), Omer, Wael, and Me (Photo courtesy of Grace Wang)

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