Monday, October 22, 2007

SLGFF # 6 - Spicy delights and an Itty Bitty Closing Night

Just when I'm about to give up on seeing a movie that I really and truly enjoy (no, Xanadu doesn't count), I finally lucked out on seeing the charming Nina's Heavenly Delights (7/8). Admittedly, this is a movie that could have gone very very wrong: A family dramedy, the film takes place among the Indian immigrants that have settled in Glasgow, Scotland. Nina (Shelley Conn), the prodigal daughter, has returned (albeit late) for the funeral of her beloved father who ran a famous Indian restaurant in town. Alas, everyone is still annoyed at Nina for fleeing town on her wedding day three years ago and moving to London with no explanation. Among the piles of family and friends are Lisa (Laura Fraser), whom Nina mistakes for her brother's girlfriend. Apparently Nina's dad lost half the restaurant in a bet to Lisa's dad, and yada yada, all people involved -- except Nina! -- wants to sell to Raj (Art Malik, who cleverly runs the restaurant "The Jewel in the Crown"... don't think I didn't get the reference!). Raj is the competition and already seems to have designs on Nina's newly widowed mom! But wait! Dad had already made the finals for the Best of the West curry competition... and it just may be Nina's chance to save the farm! I mean the restaurant! Actress Veena Sood (who plays Nina's mom) introduced the film has having "a little bit of girl-porn and a LOT of food porn!" And how! Food lovers will LOVE this film, with it's mouth-watering extensive scenes of chopping, stirring, frying, and sizzling. Mmm... you can practically taste the curry wafting from the screen. As the title character, Shelley Conn is appealing and gorgeous, and there is a nice tension and chemistry between Nina and her, er, "cooking" partner Lisa. If it weren't all about spicy food, I would compare the movie more to a pile of delicious frosted donuts. Nice to look at, and a sweet snack going down. It just makes you feel good, and is very very cute.

This time I said, "That's it! I won't ruin my evening by risking another film!" And I went home. But got some food on the way. :)

Finally, Closing Night, in the glorious packed Cinerama theater, was the unfortunately, awfully-titled Itty Bitty Titty Committee (5/8). No matter how many times I say it or read or or hear it, I still hate the title... A LOT. Anyways, the title deterred no one, and the theater was full of hipster young women with L-Word haircuts and fashionable Castro hats, plus all the men who wouldn't dare skip the final party. No guests were to be seen, which is too bad because though the film doesn't really have anything to do with Seattle, the film was bloated with an Olympia-rific soundtrack (Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre, heck, even Heavens to Betsy!). I had to blink my eyes and wonder if this was 1992, or 1995, or even as late as 1997... but no, the radical chicks on the film were definitely using the internets -- but were curiously causing mayhem to a soundtrack from a different era... dare I say a different generation? Yes, that would be, um, my era. Riot Grrrl was quite a ripple in the musical pond, but did it really start and end in the same town? Is that it? (Discuss.)
Anyways, the film is about meek young Anna (Melonie Diaz, Raising Victor Vargas, aka the best film that no on saw but me). After a day at work at a breast augmentation clinic, Anna crosses paths with sexy Sadie (Nicole Vicius), who is spray-painting the windows of Anna's workplace. A bit of flirting later, Anna has joined Sadie's radical feminist tribe C(I)A (Clits In Action). Made up of artists, rejects, and outspoken feminists, these group of women (well, one "guy" named Aggie, who "was born with a clit"), go around vandalizing stores and such in the name of women's rights -- fight the man, and all that. Among the peripheral characters are Daniella Sea (proving that, hot as she is, is not really the strongest actress), Jenny Shimizu (ditto), and Guinevere Turner (again). Often, very often actually, IBTC played like a music video... in fact, much of the movie WAS a music video, set to the tune of the Riot Grrls o' Olympia, whilst the characters ran amok in grainy video montages, giggling, spray painting, vandalizing, and such. Despite the iffy thespian skills of many of the supporting cast (hey! you're a lesbian and/or my pal! be in my movie!), luckily the leads of Anna and Sadie could act, and carried the film nicely. Anna's good-girl-to-angry-girl transformation was a bit eyeball-rolling, but haven't we all been there? Anyways, the audience ate it up. One of the side characters was criticized as being a "nine-to-fiver"... and I have to admit I related more to her. I suppose though this film seems very after-the-fact to me, in message and music, it will find an enthusiastic audience.

[2007 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival]

1 comment:

MFL said...

I really tried to get into itty bitty commitee but it just id not work for me.

Now Nina's heavenly delight's that's another story

It is such a fabulous film, gentle yet passionate and all that food

Through in Art Malik and of curse I was in Nina's Heaven

Trailer of Nina's Heavenly delights at Lesbian Movie Guide