This month CHIRP volunteer Kyle Sanders attended the 2018 Chicago International Film Festival and reported on what he discovered there...
Sometimes life throws a wrench in your gears. A cosmic event so out of left field you can't explain it or figure out how to overcome it. How you respond could alter the rest of your day, your week, or even the rest of your life.
It's a common narrative device in storytelling, especially in films. Two films that include this device are Boys Cry and Volcano, both of which screened at the Chicago International Film Festival (due to festival restrictions, the following are capsule reviews only):
Boys Cry: Monolo and Mirko, two best friends who go to school on the outskirts of Rome, find themselves the perpetrators of a hit-and-run. To their luck, this victim was wanted by an infamous family associated with the Mafia. Thinking their accidental good (mis)deed will earn them a monetary reward, they instead find themselves carrying out further assignments by the mob, and soon the initial freak accident leads them to committing more bloodshed.
Their thirst for blood and riches leads them down a dark path that has consequences for both young men as well as their families. Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo, twin filmmakers, direct this gritty crime drama.
Volcano: Lucas is an interpreter working for the OSCE when his card breaks down in the middle of nowhere. He seeks help in a small Ukrainian town, and one incident after another finds Lucas stranded in a lawless universe filled with colorful locals, including doppelgangers, faux-mirages, and one phantom-like buoy.
The first dramatic feature for director Roman Bodarchuk features enough strange visuals and atmosphere to rival Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Two films, two very bad days. Boys Cry follows a plot where one fatal accident spirals into a variety of lethal incidents. At first, Monolo and Mirko seem to have been struck with good luck, but their hit-in-run, though clearly an accident, causes greater consequences for the two, as both end up performing far more heinous crimes of planned murders and organized sex trafficking. "We're in it now" one of them says, and its clear that there is no return from one innocent accident.
Volcano, however, seems to trap the protagonist in a revolving snowball of the bizarre, collecting more grief as he makes more attempts at leaving the village. No sins are committed by him, it's the misdeeds that are committed against him: missing car, stolen wallet, random beatings, an inescapable pit in the middle of a sunflower field--and on and on. The crimes made against him are almost so surreal, you have to laugh or at the very least be amused as this man's misfortune.
Unlike Boys Cry, where the crimes are very real and you pity the young men who could have avoided this dark path if only they had done the right thing and reported the hit-and-run. Random events in our life can lead us to a crossroads of choices. The kinds of choices we have are limited, but the consequences of those choices can vary and alter our lives in unimaginable ways.