Sunday, July 20, 2003

Cambridge Film Festival log (part V)

Motown, the Detroit sound, was just part of the background while I was a kid. Not exactly my favourite music, but not so easy to ignore. The film Standing in the Shadows of Motown (shown on Friday night) is the story - in a more show than tell sort of way - of the Funk Brothers - the backing group that powered all the hits. Part guided tour, part series of reminiscences, and a lot of the surviving members playing the old standards, with folk I'd never heard of doing the vocals - which only went to show who the real, unsung (quite literally), Motown stars were. Feelgood nostalgia for those who were there the first time around.

Saturday was a French kick - starting with Belleville Rendezvous, a rather surreal animation, following a fat boy and his puppy and grandmother, as he becomes an ultra-fit Tour de France cyclist, and then gets kidnapped by the French Mafia so that expat Frenchmen in Belleville (a thinly disguised New York), can have their own TdF to bet upon; Gran and the dog follow and rescue him. It will also to do no good to trans-Atlantic relations, in that, despite it's notional 1950's date, the Belleville inhabitants are almost universally depicted as more contemporary human spheroids.

It's full of the silly and surreal that one expects from French animation, from the starting WTF!? to see the title screen embellished with Einstein's Field Equation, though the use of dried tadpoles instead of popping corn, to the final mad car chase through the night-time streets.

More conventional was the re-issue of Le Cercle Rouge, a c1970 French caper movie, that goes through levels of unresolved double-crossing until the ending that comes when you don't expect it. Gallic cool - pity that the 1970s look was so naff (nothing dates so much as being futuristic).

No comments :