A not overly satisfactory day today. It started with “Tea Time” , a sweet Chilean documentary about a group of school friends who have met for a sumptuous afternoon tea (often prepared by the maid) once a month since leaving school in the late 1940’s. As the years have progressed their numbers have dwindled, through a simply falling away from the group or from death. When we meet them there is a group of about 6 or 7, and we follow them until their 65th get together year, when only 4 are left. We see the fabulous cakes they make, and listen in to their chatter – which is about themselves and their menfolk. It was charming, but that was it.
Next stop was Mexico, with “600 Miles” – a young Mexican lad earns his money within the extended family business by buying guns in America (with the help of his white mate, who looks the sort who would happily open fire on African-Americans in a church) and driving them across the border back into Mexico. He is obviously new to the game but keen to win favour with the Mexican uncle who runs the operation. A spanner is thrown into the works when some sort of gun law enforcement officer discovers they are buying the guns (played by Tim Roth, who really does make some interesting film choices and is not afraid to go outside the box). However, the boys manage to beat him up, the white kid runs off and the Mexican boy gets the harebrained idea to drive the bound Hank to Mexico and deliver him to his Uncle. Things do not go well for the young man. This is apparently the first film from a third generation Mexican film maker – it showed some potential, so his next film will be worth keeping a look out for. This one was not bad. Actually, the scariest thing about the whole film was how easy it is to buy guns in America – it is just like shopping in the supermarket (but with very polite serving staff).
I finished the day with a fascinating story that I felt was not terrifically well told. The documentary was called “The Wolfpack” and I’m sure you’ve read all about them by now. This is the story of 7 children of a Peruvian father and an American mother, raised in New York, who were not allowed to go outside by their father. They were home schooled by their Mother (whom they adore) and their only real contact with the world was via the movies. Their DVD collection (supplied by their father, also a movie nut) numbers in the 1000’s, and they have become obsessive film watchers and enactors. The eldest transcribes the scripts of their favourite films, they make intricate costumes and then reenact the films. Their father (and mother) have tried to keep them from the world to protect them, but Dad is also into control – of them, and their Mum, but you only get glimpses and allusions to that. We only meet the 6 boys, the youngest, a girl, is seen briefly and one is left to wonder of she has an intellectual impairment. The boys however are gentle, articulate, and enquiring (Mum has done a good job with the home schooling). We are with them as they start to enter the world. But, I felt the film maker spent too long showing us old home movie clips and the film re-enactments. I wanted to know more about how they felt as they started to emerge into the world, how the older two felt getting jobs, how they went about interacting with people, how others felt about them. I can only hope that she keeps in contact with these young men and shows us how they are faring in their lives 5 or 10 years down the track.