MIFF Day 1 - 24th July 2002

I decided to start out slowly for the festival and on the first day I decided to see two documentaries and a film.

The first session I went was a documentary called The Sound of Brazil which followed the origins of Brazilian music from the orignal Indians through to the Carnival in Rio de Janero.

My favourite parts of this doco where the Maracuta dancers, especially the Lancers with the two-meter wide shoulder pads decorated really brightly and I also liked the enthusiasm of the band Funk'n'Lata who did an excellent rendition of Sex Machine in the ruins of a house.

What I liked about the documentary was that it made me want to find out more about Brazilian music and start searching the import stores for some of the bands.

It was interesting that the Carnival in Rio wasn't really mentioned until right near the end (it's been covered extensively already), but I would really like to hear more about some of the musicians mentioned.

The short film that I saw in my second session was excellent, it was called Gosta and Lennort which is about a gay man in his fifties who was abandoned by his lover and now only has a big British Bulldog called Gosta to keep him company which snores really loudly in bed so he can't sleep.

After lunch and a couple of hours walking around the city the next session I went to was Devil's Playground (not to be confused with the classic Australian film), which was about an Amish community which traditionally lets their children have a taste of the outside world once they turn 16 so they can decide if they want to be baptised in the community.

The documentary follows a group of teenagers from the community to see how they get on during this period, which is traditionally called "Rummspringa" - or "Running around" in Dutch.

Of course as they hadn't experienced the outside world before, many of the kids go nuts and overdo it, getting into drugs and alcohol in a big way and holding wild parties - one observer put it "The Amish kids always have the biggest parties."

One of the teenagers gets into trouble dealing drugs and has to go back to his parents as the Amish gangsters were after him - and you thought Weird Al was making his song up!

A very good documentary which manages to change some stereotypes about the Amish and gives an insight into another way of life.

To round off the day I decided to see Donnie Darko and I couldn't believe how popular it was! It's only the first day and already the crowds are really big (it was one of the later sessions though.

This strange film has a disturbed teenage boy off his medication who keeps getting messages from an evil bunny rabbit called Frank who tells him to burn things.

The reason Donnie does it is he believes Frank saved his life by telling him to get up before a jet engine came crashing through his bedroom.

Frank also tells Donnie that the world is going to end in 28 days and Donnie begins to get increasingly delusional during this time, which I'll let you see for yourself.

A very weird film which is remarkable for the fact that the first time director got such big names to work on it. I also liked the 80's soundtrack and the "Sparkle Motion" dance number.