Although the MIFF promised another full day of independent and foreign films on Sunday, Suzz and I had to head back late in the afternoon, so we only caught two. Being a huge fan of old skool funk and soul music, I was personally bummed we wouldn’t get the chance to see Wheedle’s Groove, which was screening later in the evening. Hopefully I will have the chance to see it in the future. As for what we DID see, we started with Nenette, a unique French documentary about one of the oldest living orangutans in captivity that has been at the Jardin des Plantes zoo in France since 1972. Nenette is made up entirely of footage taken at the zoo of Nenette and her “cellmates” (one of which is her son), and we see no one but the orangutans. Voices from animal trainers, experts, poets, and common zoogoers are heard in the background, but only the animals are shown onscreen. This is a unique take on the subject, but not really enough to save the film from portraying little more than Nenette’s boring, and sad, living conditions. Although Suzz was a little more optimistic in her view of this film, this was my least favorite of the weekend.
Following that screening, we caught the world premiere of Finding Belgrade, a documentary that follows Miodrag Kolaric, a filmmaker from the capitol city of Serbia who decides to go on his first cross-country trek of the US to explore the four Belgrades here – in Maine, Montana, Nebraska and Minnesota. Kolaric hopes to discover more about these four cities and their relationship to his own hometown of Belgrade, Serbia. Along the way, he not only learns the distinct differences between these towns and his own but also finds multiple groups of Americans welcoming him with open arms, taking pride in their hometowns, and sharing their knowledge about Belgrade. It was a fun and light-hearted film that was a fitting ending to our weekend in Maine.
Before leaving, we cast our vote for favorite film among the ones we saw – both of us chose earthwork from Day 2, independent of each other – then headed back to Lowell. And yes, we stopped at Gelato Fiasco again on our way home (yes, it’s THAT good!). Some of our highlights of the weekend included Suzz’s delight upon sitting down at the second screening on Friday night and realizing that the theater chair in which she sat had been donated by none other than Stephen and Tabitha King (Bangor is only about two hours north); enjoying an insightful Q&A with documentary filmmaker Doug Block and his wife Marjorie following the screening of The Kids Grow Up; and spending a few moments with the organizers of the event to share our appreciation of their fest and to tout our own LFC passions. We loved the festival and wished there was a way to spend the rest of the week in Waterville. Alas, responsibilities at home awaited, so we were off on our way. Stay tuned, as we hope to attend more summer film festivals in the near future.