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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

MSP Film Festival: Review

The Mac Weekly went to the MSP Film Festival. Here are our thoughts on just a few of the films.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

Jake Greenberg: Werner Herzog sets out to make a documentary as big as the internet itself. The director, who is as much myth as real person at this point, seeks to prove that the internet has changed everything — a point he seems more surprised by than audiences will be.

The film bounces between wildly disparate topics, from video game addiction to national security to colonies on Mars to robots who may one day compete in the World Cup. Fans of narrative focus will be disappointed, but fans of middle-aged and elderly white men making grandiose predictions about the future of humanity will not.

It’s impossible to discuss this ten-part exploration of the web as a cohesive whole because it is not one. However, Herzog’s interviews offer some truly funny moments (most notably Herzog himself volunteering to take Elon Musk’s first one-way trip to Mars). Herzog might be mocking everyone in this movie, returning to his traditionally nihilistic perspective that any effort to predict or direct the future is futile.

Lo and Behold examines about five ways technology could initiate the end of civilization and about five ways technology could save millions of lives. The ideas laid out by Herzog and co. are so grand and unprovable that the final product is a captivating mess, all shouting and no depth.


JG: This was a lot of time to spend with Anthony Weiner. The former congressman originally decided to take part in a documentary about his return to politics, a return quickly derailed by the second wave of his sexting scandal. The result shows a publically-manicured couple in crisis, as senior aide to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, struggles to stand by a comically self-destructive Weiner.

Much will be made of the intimacy of the documentary footage. You come to recognize certain patterns in both Weiner and Abedin’s body language: Abedin knocks her fingers against the table in disbelief, and Weiner clenches his lips when he can’t answer a question. As the crisis intensifies, neither can seem to be in the same room as the other without receding into their iPhone or laptop. Five years later it’s easy to forget that Weiner’s original scandal was a watershed moment for sexting — also a moment that showed the media’s inability to describe technology. Fundamentally, newscasters loved this story because they didn’t really understand what was going on. The fact that Weiner never had traditional sex with any of the women somehow made the media more outraged and interested. There are rules to cheating!

Perhaps the greatest takeaway from Weiner is how much Anthony Weiner loves sexting. Few people have dedicated as much energy or sacrificed as much for a cause as Weiner has for nude and semi-nude photos of himself.

Liza, The Fox-Fairy

Heather Johansen: If Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino had a Hungarian child adopted from Japan, it would be Liza, the Fox Fairy. This movie is whimsical in story and color scheme but dark in its willingness to kill off characters and throw terrible situations at the protagonist. At times it started to drag, but overall the zany antics just kept on giving.

The story centers on pig-tail loving Liza, a doting nurse for the widow of a Japanese ambassador in a Hungarian town. Liza’s lackluster existence is accented by her unflinching desire to find love and her imaginary friend, the ghost of Japanese popstar Tomy Tani. Together, Tomy and Liza have dance parties and listen to enough Japanese pop music to fill several lifetimes.

With hints from Tomy, Liza reads a Japanese fable and comes to believe she is a cursed Fox-Fairy, meaning anyone who loves her will be forced to face a cruel and instant death, the only caveat being a selfless love. A selfless lover would still suffer cruel twists of fate, like falling off ladders, but would not die. So, yay! There’s hope for Liza!

Cut to a parade of suitors killed off in hysterical and imaginative ways. Liza goes in and out of funks and is often spotted at the local fast food restaurant eating burgers and scouting out potential true loves. And perhaps Tomy is more drama than dance when all is said and done.

Formally, the movie fuses Japanese and Hungarian culture in an entertaining way and breaks the fourth wall, at one point acknowledging the credits could start rolling, but that it would be a cruel closure-less fate for the audience to suffer. The film did very well internationally, winning a slew of Fantasy Fest awards and praise, and the audience at the festival seemed to agree, chuckling right on cue. It’s perhaps the most bizarre movie I have seen in a while, but if you can handle high quirk value, then Liza is a fun ride.

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  • P

    ParisDec 17, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Interesting read.

  • R

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