Saturday, June 19, 2010

Triage, No Man's Land, and The Festival of Film

Way back in 2001, I was a student participant at the Telluride Film Festival (in beautiful Telluride, Colorado), and somewhere along the way I was told to go along with someone to pick up a Bosnian director by the name of Danis Tanović, who was there to screen his magnificent film No Man's Land. In the car, I made brief small talk with Tanović telling them I had just made the acquaintance of a good Slovenian friend (aka The Captain). Danis was surly and of few words and somewhat jokingly asked me what about Bosnia, and why didn't I have a Bosnian friend. I told him I'd get one. We got to our destination, I watched his incredible film, and tried to keep an eye out for something else from him. I never managed to catch any of his other films until I went to the website of our local uniplex a few weeks back and noted he had a new film and it was headed my way.

So, last night, I pedalled over to said trusty neighborhood cinema to catch Tanovic's latest, Triage. I stepped in and requested a ticket and the girl at the ticket window informed me that I'd be the only person in the theater. I guess she thought she would dissuade me from coming in and then she could round up the boys and every one could go home early. No sirree. I replied that being alone in that theater was nothing new. If I had a euro for every time I sat alone in the Radovljica Kino.... well I could at least buy myself a reasonably filling dinner. So I flipped my ticket to the ticket-taker (not sure what he's there for, but anyway) and went in to see the flick.

Triage mostly takes place in 1998 Ireland and focuses on a very skeletal young Irish war photographer played by the charming Mr. Colin Farrell (who lost like 40 some pounds for the role) who is dealing with personal strife resulting from an assignment in Kurdistan gone terribly wrong. It is at times lopsided and forced, feeling sort of more like a play than a film, but the actors (Farrell is joined by the lovely Paz Vega, the dignified though slightly unconvincing Christopher Lee, and our beloved Branko Đurić once again proving the weird film belief that former Yugo people are the right choice whenever you need an actor to be somewhat ambiguously ethnic) and the art direction somehow pull it together into a credible and compelling little story that just barely misses being cliche.

The last thing I saw Farrell in was In Bruges, another nice little film and I really admire him for challenging himself by taking these sort of projects that are doomed to fly mostly under the radar. I think he is just getting better as an actor, and I highly recommend catching Triage when it comes your way.

BTW, Danis if you're out there, I have a few Bosnian friends now. But I imagine you'd say I ought to have more. With pleasure!


Anonymous said...

Awesome movies, indeed.
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