Pent-Up Raves

I’d like to run through a number of recommendations fast, so hold on to your seats.

The Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) was a blast. I only got out for one night, but Ann and I crammed three films into those hours. Two of them were excellent.

Novem is a documentary about nine college students from the ’70s who recorded an album over the course of a week and then died in a car wreck on the way home. The film features footage shot in the ’70s spliced together with interviews with the college kids who found the old recordings and film at a garage sale. The most amazing part of it is that it’s a work of fiction, but it’s utterly convincing as the documentary it purports to be. Stop by the film’s website to pick up a free MP3 of “Born and Raised,” one of the best tracks in the fictional album.

We also saw The Aristocrats. It’s the filthiest, funniest film I’ve ever seen. Leave the kids at home, and try not to look them in the eye the next day.

We managed to see The Real Dirt on Farmer John later, and we loved it too. This is a real documentary about a farmer that lives less than 10 miles from our house. It’s a great examination of what’s happened to farming in our region over the years and the solutions that farmer John Peterson found for these troubled times for small farmers. He now runs a successful CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm called Angelic Organics.

Over this past weekend, Ann, my mother, and I took our whole crew out to see the new Curious George film. It was gorgeous and brilliant, and we all loved it. It’s a real kids’ film, without the extra layer for adults so common to animated features these days (see Shrek for the clearest example). This made it refreshing and light and a real joy to experience with a bunch of kids at your side. Jack Johnson’s soundtrack fit it perfectly too.