MSPIFF: Sunday 4/18: Norway, France, much of eastern Europe, Japan

Sunday was Day 3 of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival.  Despite the absolutely gorgeous sunny spring weather, I bravely fought my way into:

  * [Kirsten Flagstad's Square](, shown with [Fjord](, both documentaries from Norway.  Kirsten Flagstad was a famous operatic soprano before and after World War II.  There was some sort of smear campaign against her and her husband, accusing them of Nazi sympathies.  The story was told in a disjointed way, leaving Louise and me to try to figure out what the accusations were.  The music was great, as was learning the history, but it definitely wasn't reporting you'd see on "60 Minutes" or "Nightline". **So-So**.  Same for "Fjord".
  * [Welcome](, France.  A 17 year old kid walks and rides 4,000 kilometers from Iraq to Calais, France before getting caught in a truck trying to cross the English Channel.  His girlfriend is in London and about to be married away by her father. Thwarted, he decides is only option is to swim, so he starts swimming lessons.  **Highly recommended**.  Showing again on 4/20.
  * [Cooking History](, Czech Republic and Poland and Russia and Yugoslavia (and others).  A collection of vignettes from veterans of various wars about food.  After all, there is no war without food.  Several animals are slaughtered on camera, beware if you're squeamish.  Recommended.  Showing again on 4/21.
  * [Air Doll](, Japan.  Walt Disney really didn't see [Pinocchio]( in quite this manner.  What happens when an inflatable sex doll gets a heart?  In one scene, Nozomi says (paraphrasing) that flowers aren't enough: they also need bees or the wind.  Everyone needs an Other, is constantly looking for their Other.  Her boyfriend confides that he's similar to her, too, but she doesn't understand simile and metaphor enough to realize that people can't be fixed with a bit of cellophane tape like she can.  (To understand better a few scenes, it's helpful to know that Japanese custom after death is cremation.  Also, everywhere in Tokyo, waste bins are separated into "combustible" and "noncombustible" categories, along with separate recycling bins for metal cans and plastic bottles.)  The Vita.MN reviewer thought it was too slow paced and gave it only 2.5 of 4 stars.  Yes, the pacing is slow, but not too slow for me.  Your mileage may vary.  **Recommended**.  Also showing on 4/21.

The theme of looking for another will be contrasted with another MSPIFF film that I want to see: TiMER.  You know know where you’ll meet Ms./Mr. Right, but your built-in timer will tell you when.

Max Manus update:  Max Manus will be showing twice more: Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00pm (with Gunnar Sønsteby (Wikipedia) appearing, Tuesday only) and Thursday, April 29 at 7:15pm.