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Dallas International Film Festival — Roadtrips, Motorcycles & Old Home Week

April 17th, 2012 · Tags:Arts · Cities

Once again I found myself with a tough decision at The Dallas International Film Festival — two interesting films beginning at the same time. The one with father/son relationship building won out … glad it did.

So, up next at The PingWi-fi: “Father’s Chair,” an international festival entry in the narrative category, brought to us by Director Luciano Moura. It’s a film with a lot of things we love … the afore mentioned father/son thing … a believable birthing event … a gratuitous hallucinogen scene … equestrian art and horsemanship … teen angst … relationship rebuilding … and YES, a road trip.

Father’s Chair

Ha … I always go into a film knowing little (about the film … or anything for that matter … I digress), to avoid preconceived notions and lofty expectations. But I picked up quickly on the fact the characters were speaking another language. What’s it usually take, about 5 minutes into a film before you forget you are even reading subtitles? Soon it becomes natural, provided the film maker has successfully gotten inside your head. Father’s Chair does. I think it was 10 minutes into the film, though, that I started to realize the spoken dialogue was Portuguese and not Spanish … I mean they do share some of the words I know … like “no” for instance … and caballero … or at least their words are similar.

Anywho … I wouldn’t say it is a “pretty film.” I have seen more artsy cinematography, but its strength is the story telling and the adventure and emotion, as a father hits the road to find his runaway teenage son … all the while trying to patch a relationship with a wife … a wife who is both blaming the father and also expecting him to fix the mess.

As you might guess, there are interesting adventures along the way, spiced up slightly by the South American backdrop — shantytowns in Brazillian urban sprawl, third-world like ferry crossings, telecommunications snafus.

Sidebar: I found this interesting too. The film is quite open in the introductions about sponsorship provided by Volkswagen. Guess what car transports the father down the road, for most of his roadtrip. Yes, a VW. There is a funny seen where the frantic father has to run for it, as a posse of angry locals pelt him with rocks. He hops in the VW and due to its obvious quick acceleration, good looks and rugged styling, it escapes US (unscathed). I jest, but I have seen less obvious product placements in films. Also interesting to note the Dallas VW dealerships are major sponsors of the festival this year. Small wonder. (Google that if you don’t get the reference …)

Regardless … the story works … there is lots of uncertainty … worry … excellent gas mileage and a good payoff in the end — 6 pings.

And my favorite part? The last 100 miles, 100 kilometers … whatever … of the journey, given my new fascination with all things two-wheeled. After thieves take the four wheels from the VW, the father finishes his trek on a motorcycle. Yet another South American doctor, traveling the backroads of South American on a motorcycle a la “Motorcycle Diaries,” sans the revolucion … er … revolução.

By the way … as is my custom, I must point out this blog was posted using the free Wi-Fi hotspot of the Angelika Cafe & Bar, downstairs from the theater … and just a few feet from the red carpet event where we also fired off a few shots last night.

The Angelika Cafe also gets 6 pings for the great Internet access, sweet pleather couches in a comfortable corner and the the scent. More hotspots should come with hot buttered popcorn!

As mentioned on Facebook, last night’s red carpet included meeting a guy from one of the films whose mother grew up with my brother, in small-town Texas. His grandfather was my father’s attorney, to boot. I guess I must see “The Revisionaries” as a family courtesy and because I am still reeling from the coincidence.

Know what I sayin?

Scott Thurman, Ron Wetherington -- "The Revisionaries"

Scott Thurman, Ron Wetherington -- "The Revisionaries"

"QWERTY" lead Dana Pupkin, Director Bill Sebastian +1

"QWERTY" lead Dana Pupkin, Director Bill Sebastian +1

Xan Aranda, "Andrew Bird: Fever Year"

Xan Aranda, "Andrew Bird: Fever Year"

Rebekah Kennedy - "I Am Gabriel"

Rebekah Kennedy - "I Am Gabriel"

Sebastian and daughter, "QWERTY"

Sebastian and daughter, "QWERTY"