VIFF 2011 Reviews: Inside Lara Roxx; Wind and Fog; Journey on the Wild Coast


Inside Lara Roxx. Canada, 78 min.

So, imagine that you are a drug-addled young woman looking for something to do with your life. What’s it to be? (a) Clean up and go to college? (b) Clean up and get a job? (c) Go to Los Angeles, become a porn star and get a dose of the clap? Twenty-one-year-old Lara Roxx (that can’t be her real name) chooses (c), of course, and returns to Montreal HIV positive. Film maker Mia Donovan remains commendably nonjudgmental as she records Lara’s encounters with some of the seediest individuals on planet Earth.

Summary: Although she’s annoying, it is hard to get really angry with Lara.

Wind and Fog. Iran, 74 min.

Traumatized when his mother is killed during the Iran-Iraq war, an Iranian boy loses his voice and has to endure the cruelties of his fellow classmates. But eight-year-old Sahand has a sympathetic father, a caring grandfather and, above all, a courageous big sister to defend him. There’s heavy symbolism here: rain as well as wind and fog; and a wounded white goose. Filmed in Iran’s forested hills.

Summary: A graceful film that fits tightly into its short running  time.

Journey on the Wild Coast, USA, 90 min.

The highlight of this film comes when newly-wed Erin announces that she is pregnant. Husband Hig is duely joyful, a heroic achievement considering that at the time the couple is struggling on foot across an Alaskan icefield, desperate to find civilization before their food runs out. Erin and Hig, two people made for each other and for no one else, elect to celebrate their union by travelling by boot, dinghy and ski from Seattle, through British Columbia to the tip of the Aleutian Islands. recording their experiences on video.  There are some cringe-worthy sequences involving large bears and ice-floes.

Summary: National Geographic meets Blair Witch. Sure to be popular.

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About aharmlessdrudge

Way back during the late Bronze age -- actually it was the 1950s -- all of us in high school had to take a vocational test to determine our interests and, supposedly, our future careers. I cannot remember the outcome, but I do recall one question that gave me pause. "If you were to win a Nobel prize, would it be in literature or in physics?" I hesitated over the question: although I enjoyed mathematics and science more than English class, I did have a couple of unfinished (and very bad) novels hidden away at home. I cannot remember what I chose back then, but the dilemma followed me to university, where I switched from mathematics to English and -- after a five-year stint in journalism -- back to mathematics. I recently retired as a professor of statistics. Retirement. What a good chance to revive my literary ambitions. I have finished a novel -- more about that in good time -- and a rubble of drafts of articles about mathematics and statistics is taking up space on my hard disk.
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