InsideOut 2004 - UPDATE #1
Directed by Shahar Rozen
Round Trip, like the recent Broken Wings, is an Israeli film that tells a simple familial story without any references to the volatile political situation that's plaguing that country. The film follows Nurit, a bus driver with a husband and two kids, as she leaves her spouse and moves to Tel Aviv with her children. While there, she meets and falls in love with a kind nanny named Mushidi - though the two take care to ensure their illicit relationship remains a secret. Director Shahar Rozen does an effective job of imbuing Round Trip with a documentary feel, to the extent that I genuinely thought it was a documentary for the first five minutes or so. Rozen takes his time in establishing the story and developing the characters, allowing the audience to really get to know these people (though the emphasis is on Nurit). The naturalistic acting among all the primary performers nicely compliments the gritty, realistic style employed by Rozen - though his tendency to resort to contrived coincidences (particularly in the film's final act) eventually diminishes the story's impact. In the end, Round Trip is a fine effort - the movie deftly manages to overcome its obviously minuscule budget - though Nurit never quite becomes a character we're completely rooting for.
Directed by Murray Nossel
Paternal Instinct follows two gay men as they attempt to have a child via a surrogate mother - a process that proves to be far more frustrating and arduous than either expects. The fathers-to-be in question - Mark and Erik - are incredibly likable figures, so it's impossible not to root for them in their quest to become parents. Director Murray Nossel does a nice job of keeping his distance, but occasionally inserts distracting stylistic choices - with an overuse of slow motion photography his most obvious transgression. Still, there's something fascinating about watching these two normal guys pin all their hopes and dreams on the possibility of a complete stranger (a witch, no less!) becoming pregnant. The resulting film is often surprisingly moving, as we become fairly involved in the various ups and downs that emerge from such a project (ie a heartbreaking miscarriage). Though the movie is occasionally more graphic than one would like - ie the insemination sequences - Paternal Instinct is nevertheless a worthy documentary, filled with emotionally involving moments and a real sense of immediacy.
The Child I Never Was
Directed by Kai S. Pieck
The Child I Never Was should've been electrifying; with its true-life story about a teenager who murdered four young boys in the mid '60s, it's almost bizarre that the film turns out to be dull and ultimately pointless. A big contributor to the movie's downfall is the odd structure employed by director Kai S. Pieck, who allows the central character to reminisce about his life and crimes while being interrogated by an unseen and unheard police officer (presumably). The result is ceaseless narration from a character we're obviously not meant to sympathize with (he does, after all, brutally kill an innocent young boy within the first 15 minutes). But director Kai S. Pieck makes it abundantly clear why this kid is as messed up as he is; his mother still bathes him as a teenager and he often wishes that he'd never grow up. However, this doesn't change the fact that the film is incredibly tedious, primarily because of the aforementioned narration - which is mostly superfluous and chock full of the sort of dance-around-the-actual-issue dialogue one expects from a pretentious European film.