Awake: 8:15 a.m.
Movies: 11:45 a.m.: Offside (A); 2:15 p.m.: Shortbus (A-); 5:30 p.m.: Black Book (A-)
Food: cheese danish*; two slices pepperoni/mushroom/green pepper pizza; one scoop chocolate frozen yogurt in waffle cone; spicy Korean BBQ rice bowl (w/beef, pork, chicken and kimchee); triple fudge brownie
Drink: small bottle of Coke*; can of gingerale; medium movie theater Coke; glass of white wine; 500 ml carton of chocolate milk**
Gum: 2 squares Eclipse spearmint
Music: iPod shuffle***
Print Media: The Onion
TV: none
Conversations: the usual crowd, plus Renaissance director Christian Volkman
Bedtime: 2 a.m.****

*The danish and Coke were courtesy of the Miramax hospitality suite. Does accepting a continental breakfast compromise my integrity? (Also, I was tempted to write "cheese pranish" instead of "cheese danish," but I figured only my wife would get the reference.)

**I stopped including the measurements on my beverages a couple of days ago because I was misreporting the volume of soda cans, having accidentally transposed a couple of numbers. Anyway, I figure most of you know how big a can or bottle of soda is anyway. Cartons of milk vary though, so here's a brief return to measuring.

***I was digging all nine minutes of Pink Floyd's "Sheep" tonight. Pink Floyd may be the prog act whose sprawling epics are the most listenable from start to finish.

****I typically file these reports about half an hour before I intend to go to bed, but in the ongoing interest of accuracy, I confess that my actual bedtime has been up to an hour later than my reported bedtime on a lot of nights. As Scott likes to say about me: "Don't Believe His Lies."

Movie notes: So far at the festival, I've seen some movies I enjoyed and a couple that I thought were truly great, but today started with the first movie I've flat-out loved. Offside continues Jafar Panahi's stellar run of gripping verité movies about everyday life in Tehran. This time he follows the action in and around the city's soccer arena, where the Iranian national team is competing against Bahrain for a spot in the 2006 World Cup field. More specifically, Panahi hangs around a small holding pen just outside one of the concourses, where a group of women who've tried to sneak into the stadium spend the game bickering with their captors. The script could've been rendered as a static one-act play, but Panahi stages it with his usual keen cinematic sense, moving the camera back and forth like a series of scoring rallies, and emphasizing the distant sound of a game that no one's getting to watch. Offside is funny, angry, passionate, and surprisingly patriotic, and builds to an ending that feels hopeful but not phony. I'm just about ready to anoint Panahi as my favorite non-American filmmaker. … Almost as good (to me at least, though there's been plenty of dissent among my friends and fellow critics): John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus, which already has a reputation as "that indie dramedy with explicit sex." But reducing Shortbus to mere artsploitation unfairly diminishes what Mitchell's trying to do here; and even just acknowledging what he's trying to do–namely, to position pan-sexuality as a decent cure for society's ills–doesn't convey the way the movie's warmly lit, fleshy textures and unabashed paeans to libertinism deliver a message without resorting to a lot of speechmaking. The opening shots of the movie–The Statue Of Liberty intercut with images of hardcore sex, over a soundtrack of "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby"–delivers the movie's overarching point in a nutshell. Either America is a land where consenting adults are free to fuck however they choose, or none of us are really free. At one point, one of the characters says, "voyeurism is participation," and in a way, just the act of watching Shortbus feels liberating, like an affirmation of an alternative kind of patriotism. Shortbus also makes a nice companion piece to Hong Sang-soo's Woman On The Beach, in that it also acknowledges how hard it is for two people to love only each other. Mitchell provides his solution: Why not love a bunch of people, publicly and all at once? … After seeing Black Book, I ran into my critic pal J. Robert Parks, who had no plans to see the film, and expressed reasonable qualms about the whole oeuvre of director Paul Verhoeven because of its tendency towards "sadism." But honestly, one of the things I liked about Black Book is its sadism, which extends all the way to a questionable sequence that can only be dubbed "the bucket of shit scene." Verhoeven returned to his native Holland to direct this movie about the not-always-heroic efforts of the Dutch resistance in WWII, and while this kind of story–which focuses on a Jewish woman in hiding–could've easily been one of those leaden historical prestige pieces that clog up the Best Foreign Language Film nominee pool every year, Verhoeven makes it a full-on Verhoeven movie, full of rollicking action, black humor, Hitchcockian suspense and sexy romping. (Not to mention a daring and jaw-dropping performance by Carice Van Houten … "daring" being critspeak for "she gets naked a lot.") Black Book goes on a little too long, with much of the last half-hour given over to tidying up the plot; but it ends with a gutsy stinger that re-emphasizes the movie's persistent sense of hopelessness. This is one of the most fun movies ever made about how people intrinsically suck. … After three winners in a row, I almost didn't mind getting shut out of the final critic's screening of Little Children. I'll catch up with later, and the free evening gave me a chance to work a little and relax. Because tomorrow, if everything works out, will be one of those elusive 7-movie days.

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