Waltz With Bashir at The Little

Ali and I went to The Little (240 East Ave.) to catch a couple movies. She had read the book and wanted to see the film The Reader, and I've been meaning to catch Vals Im Bashir (Waltz With Bashir). They both started about the same time — although the shorter Waltz started 10 minutes earlier, so I got out some 45 minutes earlier. I headed to Spot Coffee (200 East Ave.) but couldn't figure out how to get on the Internets with their wireless Internet [assuming "Spot on WIFI" was the SSID of their network.]

Anyway, Waltz With Bashir is a rather interesting movie. It's an animated film about a man who had fought in Israel's war with Lebanon 20 years ago. He can't remember anything of his involvement in the war until one of the people he fought with reveals a recurring dream. The man then seeks others who fought in the war by his side to help him get his memories back — particularly about a massacre he has the most trouble remembering.

The scenes of war were particularly surreal. Not because of the unreal aspects of the animation, though, but from the insanity inherent in war itself: particularly those aspects that bridge peaceful life with war life. The soldiers are expected to behave a certain way, but their humanity draws their attention to commonplace things: sounds and silence for example, or the benign apathy of plants to politics, borders, and war.

I look at this whole war thing like I must be crazy. I mean, I can't see how it makes anything any better. It's a deliberate act of malice that changes the course of people's lives, justified in future retrospect that it will have been seen as unavoidable and written in history as a good thing by the victors.

So I see these films that portray war as this absurd exercise and it seems true through the rich approximation of emotions. But then I'll talk with some guy returning from Iraq and they all say it was such a rewarding experience. On the one hand I feel like my fellow fairly-trade-coffee-chewing aristocracy, proud of our nuanced and clearly superior understanding of war. Yet it's a much more filtered view than those who are actually at war.

Unassailable logic dictates that to really get an answer, I'd need to go to war myself. But aside from gaining more knowledge about the world, I otherwise find the idea, well, bad.

I think I might just leave this one unknown.

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Coffee With … Beautiful Chaos

I headed out to Spot Coffee (200 East Ave.) this morning to catch the Coffee With … event of The Rochester High Falls International Film Festival (RHFIFF). This event is one of the most consistent winners in my book — I enjoy getting to sit down and talk with creative people. It's always semi-controlled chaos as it's never certain who (among the filmmakers) will show up and who (among the festival goers) will show up so it might be just a handful, or it could be hundreds.

This time it was in-between. The meeting area was the upper balcony at Spot and there were about 40 people there total of which there were (I think) about 8 filmmakers. It was crowded and challenging — but so personal. I got to chat with a bunch of people including Donald Pusateri who was having a ball at the festival as the husband of filmmaker Maria Pusateri (whom I also met later) — she made Vito After about her brother-in-law Vito Friscia and his battle with health issues following being a first-responder at the 9/11 attacks. I also got to meet Alex Miltsch, the president of Rochester Park Studios (789 Elmgrove Rd.) — hopefully they'll do well, even if it's a risky venture.

And — as certain as I am to run into festival director Catherine Wyler herself was Jerry Stoeffhaas, Deputy Director of The New York Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development and Nora Brown, Assistant Director of The Rochester/Finger Lakes Film and Video Office.

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