Friday, May 6, 2011

JIFF 2011 Part Three - Stormy Weather And HERZOG!

For Other JIFF 2011 posts please click here.

JIFF 2011
Welcome to JIFF, our banners are pretty and our spellchecker is broken.

I woke up to a thunderous storm, rain blasting onto the red tinted windows and the realization that I didn’t know where I could get breakfast. Stomach growling, I washed, brushed and got myself ready under the sickly green light of the bathroom, and made my way out into the rainy morning. Fortunately the JIFF shuttle bus was waiting for me and I settled myself into one of the faux leather seats as the tv at the head of the bus flickered with footage from the first two days of the festival and the speakers boomed with hideous techno. Dance music at ten in the morning has never seemed proper.

JIFF 2011
You must try one of these choco pies before you die.

As we arrived at the cinema street, the rain eased off and I was able to walk around looking for sustenance. Unable to find a Korean restaurant for breakfast, I headed for the PNB bakery and picked up one of their delicious baked choco pies. Not the healthiest way to break my fast, but I was hungry and I had four films to see.

JIFF 2011
Evil cat.

Next stop was a cute little coffee shop with an evil looking cat crouched on the counter. I left a warning in one of their notebooks. I think this may accurately reflect what a night in the 백제의 성 motel can do to a man’s mind...

JIFF 2011
Warning to others.

With caffeine and chocolate cake flowing through my digestive system I was ready for the first flick of the day: Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D. I had been wanting to see this documentary for quite a while and was so happy that JIFF were showing it in 3D. I think my tweet from before the screening says it all:

“HERZOG! HERZOG! HERZOG! Time for 3D Werner Herzog...”

Sometimes I can be such a geek.

JIFF 2011
I feel the same way about Herzog that a motel Ajosshi feels about these business cards (found outside my motel).

The Megabox screening was packed out (with the largest number of foreigners I had seen at the festival so far) and it did not disappoint. I think it may be the best use of 3D in cinema I have seen so far. Herzog allows the camera to linger over the fabulous prehistoric cave paintings of Chauvet and the 3D allows us to experience a little of the depth and texture of the art. This kind of film is best suited to hardcore documentary fans who have the patience and interest to spend ninety minutes looking at some old scribbles on a cave wall. I am one of those fans and was delighted by how Herzog has captured this unique historical wonder. Go see this in the cinema if you can, it’s well worth your hard earned cash and will leave you feeling like a better person. The postscript with the radioactive albino crocodiles may not be to everyone’s taste, but I found it to be a fitting Herzogian end to the whole thing.

No Q&A and certainly no Werner Herzog, so it was time for coffee and a cheese muffin.

JIFF 2011
They call this a cheese muffin. I call them liars.

A cheese muffin served with squirty cream? A cheese muffin that has never been introduced to any kind of recognizable cheese? A muffin certainly, not a bad one in fact, but this was completely different to the muffin I had dreamed of in those long lonely moments between ordering and receiving the damn thing.

At this point I was wondering whether watching The True Taste Show had cursed me and if I would be condemned to a weekend of dismal food. However, I’m a big boy and my next screening called.

Short animation programs can be a mixed bag, you may get some good, some bad and some just plain weird cartoons, but it seemed the best choice when I was booking tickets and I hoped that there might be some interesting moving pictures.

JIFF 2011
This mural was more exciting than the short animation program...

Eighty minutes later the house lights came back on and I left the cinema with my head hung low. My first failure of the festival. The main animation of the program was a rather ghoulish Japanese vegan fantasy, drawn in pencil (a touch Plymtonesque) and ending with a cannibalistic orgy of destruction. It lasted fifty minutes and I wished I’d spent that time in a happier place. The other few animations were blissfully short but none impressed me.

JIFF 2011
Happiness spread before me.

I needed cheering up, I needed food. I had an hour and a half till the next film and I knew just where to go... my favourite bibimbap place in the whole of Korea. I’ve written about 중앙회관 before and I’d recommend it to anyone heading to Jeonju. It’s a little out of the way, but 10,000 won will get you an incredible meal.

JIFF 2011
Bibimmed bap.

The way the ajummas bibim your bap is a thing of beauty and it was just what I needed to re-energize me and help me through the rest of the day. I gave the owners a hand with a few translations for their menu and they were kind enough to give me my meal for free. The True Taste Show curse was lifted, my festival mojo was back and I was ready for cinematic action.

JIFF 2011
You want this. I know you do.

1 comment:

Sam Suhr said...

I like bibimbap myself, but good God, is that all for one person? Throw all that banchan in one bowl and you've got a whole another portion! Anyway, enjoyed reading the post, Ajosshi.