The third and final day of the Akron Film festival brought lighthearted fun in the form of a program of shorts, including Denis Villanueve’s “Next Floor” (the story of opulent diners making ritualistic carnage out of sophisticated food), Andrew Gage’s “Girls Go Fast” (about a family in rural Ohio whose daughters become drag racers) and “Blimp,” directed by Blue Green, Todd V. and Chris Miller (which presents fun alternate universe explanations for the history of Akron). These shorts were followed up by the quirky romance “Obselidia” and the documentary “Sons of Perdition.”
“Obselidia,” directed by Diane Bell, is a librarian named George (Michael Piccirilli) who is writing an encyclopedia of all things obsolete. While doing so, he interviews Sophie (Gaynor Howe), a projectionist at a silent movie theatre. They hit it off — in a subtle, geeky way — and take a road trip to Death Valley where they find an old man named Lewis (Frank Hoyt Taylor), and the answers to a lot of life’s mysteries, including George’s biggie on whether or not love was obsolete. I thought this movie moved a little slowly in the beginning, but found its pace near the middle. The characters are believable and well acted. I personally resonated with George and Lewis because of their respective questions and outlooks on life. Is everything slowly disappearing, and is there anything we can do? If there isn’t, why not do it up while we can? The debate about obsolescence itself is a very point that should be very well taken, especially since we live in an age where you can buy a computer brand new in a store and watch it become obsolete the next day. The theme of obsolescence was even worked into the musical score, as it was produced with instruments that are no longer used
“Sons of Perdition” was one of the best documentaries on religious culture I’ve ever seen. Jennilyn Merten and Tyler Measom documented three teens — Joe Broadbent, Sam Zitting and Bruce Barlow — in Colorado City, Ariz., who were exiled from the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints as they attempt to make new lives for themselves in mainstream America. Joe tries to get his family to escape the cult-like community Colorado City, called “The Crick,” to the safe haven of St. Georges, Utah; Bruce wants to go to high school like a normal teen; and Sam struggles simply to find his place in the world. I’m no atheist, but at the same time, I’m not a hardcore Christian either, which is to say that I will feely question the practices of my religion and will cry foul if it goes too far. This movie does precisely that. While I’m sure that most Mormons aren’t evil people, Merten and Measom expose the FLDS and Warren Jeffs for what they are, through the eyes of former members.
And so the Akron Fiilm Festival, and my coverage of it comes to a close. I enjoyed the movies presented, most especially “Air Doll,” and the experience itself was quite good. Props go to Akron Film, the Akron Art Museum and their sponsors for putting on a quality festival. For all of you cinemaphiles out there, go see these movies when they come to a film festival near you or put them in your Netflix queue. It will be time well spent.
Trust me, I’m a film critic.
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