VIFF 2013: Money for Nothing; Oil Sands Karaoke; The Future


Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve (103 minutes, USA, Director Jim Bruce) . This film attempts to look into the minds of the lunatics who took turns running the asylum. The asylum in this case being the United States Federal Reserve, the US equivalent of a central bank. We learn of the merry pranks organised by the FR chairmen as the US (and the world’s) economies roller-coasted through the 20th Century and the first part of the 21st. Don’t miss the parts devoted to that master of mirth, Allan Greenspan, the clown who brought us the 2008-2009 mortgage meltdown. It’s enough to make you take a run on your bank to withdraw your savings and put them in a hole in the ground. As a documentary, this film is uncomfortably well made. But then, I may be wrong.

Oil Sands Karaoke (82 minutes, Canada, Director Charles Wilkinson). Worried about what the Fort McMurray oil sands project is doing to Alberta’s pristine landscape? Appalled at the conversion of forest and grasslands to a mud filled pit the size of Belgium? Don’t worry. Join our gang of workers in a noisy bar for a karaoke contest. As Congreve might have said, there’s nothing like drink and country music to soothe the savage beast. Attend this film only if you are not already turned off or don’t know who Congreve was.

The Future (95 minutes, Chile/Italy/Germany/Spain, director Alicia Scherson).  Having lost their parents in a car accident, teenagers Bianca and Tomas  move into mum and dad’s Rome apartment and stagger incompetently through life. Things get complicated when two of Tomas’s over-muscled friends move in with them and propose a get-rich scheme that involves Bianca hooking up (in the mercenary sense) with a rich but aging star of some of Italy’s worst 1960s sword-and-sandal films. Bianca’s task to locate the safe in the star’s mansion so the boys will know where to look when they break in. Rutger Hauer, himself an aging muscle-man, puts in an Anthony-Hopkins inspired performance as the mark. Director Scherson uses the ancient backdrop of Rome (and some hilarious clips from old Hercules films) to represent the past. The question is, what is the future of Bianca and Tomas?

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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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One Response to VIFF 2013: Money for Nothing; Oil Sands Karaoke; The Future

  1. Pingback: Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 | aharmlessdrudge

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