It’s been a whole, entire week since my last post! Sorry, folks. I know you’ve been waiting on tenterhooks. It took me a little while to get back into the swing of things after coming back from Amsterdam as it was such a hectic weekend but I’m all good now. I went to Amsterdam primarily for the Amsterdam Film Festival for Documentaries which is more commonly known as IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam). But, of course I did some sightseeing too! More on that later.
I bought tickets for 4 films but due to a serious mishap on my first day, I went to the entirely wrong cinema. So here are three mini reviews for screenings for Amsterdam Film Festival which weren’t held in a confusing cinema!
Amsterdam Film Festival
The Eagle Huntress (2016)
This was the film I was most excited to see and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint. Daisy Ridley lent her vocal skills to narrative this beautiful documentary and also acted as Executive Producer. I really hope that means it will give the film some more coverage. The film is set in the most rural part of Mongolia (so petty rural, then). Eagle Hunting is tradition amongst men, until little Aisholpan develops a knack for it.
Obviously the men of the annual Eagle hunting festival are skeptical and disapproving of a girl eagle hunting, but luckily her father is all for it. This reminds me strongly of Emma Watson’s #heforshe campaign. If Aisholpan’s father wasn’t keen, then she would probably not have been given the opportunity to blossom in the sport. Because blossom she does. It’s a real family-friendly doc that emphasises the fact skill and determination are not gender specific. If you didn’t know already. Plus, the film is absolutely GORGEOUS and makes full use of the vast landscapes whilst filming the eagles soaring around the mountains.
How to Meet a Mermaid (2016)
How to Meet a Mermaid was screened in a building that was more bar than cinema at the Amsterdam Film Festival (IDFA) but meant that I could enjoy a beer whilst watching a film. Which was awesome, but unfortunately was the best thing about this screening experience. Honestly, what a hot mess. The film followed the tragic story of the filmmaker’s brother being lost at sea whilst diving and the fact his body was never recovered. So I feel guilty saying it isn’t a good film. But it’s not a good film.
She kind of delves into other tragedies where people have been lost at sea and their bodies were barely acknowledged by the authorities, let alone searched for. There’s a great film in here somewhere about the amount of people who die at sea and go unaccounted for, but it wasn’t this film. It was confusing audibly and visually and I have no idea what I watched or what the purpose was.
Who’s Going to Love Me Now? (2016)
Easily the most enjoyable film-watching experience of the festival, and what a crackin’ way to finish. I entered Cinema 1 at the EYE film Museum to a chorus of men sharply dressed in colourful shirts singing Buble most beautifully. We then learn they are Amsterdam’s gay mens chorus ‘Manoeuvre’. Brilliant. I just LOVE that this is a thing. They were wonderful.
The film had a wonderful subject: Saar. An israeli gay man, living in London with AIDS. His new life consisted of working at an Apple store and singing in London Gay Men’s Chorus (ahh, there’s the connection). He came from a big, highly religious Jewish family who he had become all but estranged from over the years, and the film centred on him and his family sewing up their ties. There was so much at play in this film: coming out to your Jewish family let alone having to tell them a few years later you’re HIV positive, but the man in question was so compelling to watch and his story is an important one. I pretty much burst out crying when he said “this is who I am. Take it or leave it.” It reminds me strongly of lyrics in Rent, and we all know what that musical is about.
Have you ever been to the Amsterdam Film Festival (IDFA) before? Or have you seen any of the films listed above? Do you agree with my thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!