MSPIFF of yore: 21st Annual Festival, 2003

It was 2003. I’d been working for Caspian Networks for over two years.  We were going to make an IP router that would surpass Juniper Networks and Cisco, “eating the lunch” of every other top-end router maker in the world.  Oh, the market projections were overinflated by orders of magnitude.  Oops.  Sorry, we have to let you go.

It was layoff #2 for me.  Layoff #1 hit me when I was at Sendmail, Inc.  Layoff #1 hit me really hard.  Having a good, on schedule, and on budget project cancelled didn’t make sense at the time.  “Disorienting” and “disillusioning” don’t come close to what I’d felt in 2001.  When layoff #2 happened in 2003, it wasn’t completely new.  I was even asked back full-time, a week or two after being canned.  I said no.

So, what’s a person to do when the Caspian horse he’d been riding is shot out from under him?  Go to the movies.

The films of the 21st Annual MSPIFF were showing at the auditorium at the Bell Museum, the Oak Street Cinema, the Crown Theaters in downtown Minneapolis, the Walker Art Center, Galtier Plaza, and my favorite the Riverview Theater.  Looking back, I’m a bit surprised that I didn’t see even more movies.  But if I remember correctly, the weather was unbe-F’ing-lievable that spring.  It was a really great time to be unemployed.  Perhaps the time of peak leaf color in the fall would be better?  I was young, I was silly, and I hadn’t learned that movies that may never come around again are more important than a warm, sunny day.

Another limit to film viewing was running around from theater to theater.  For the past two years, we’ve been spoiled by having all of the MSPIFF films showing at the same place, the 5-screen St. Anthony Main Theater.  Back in 2003, you had to consider not only screen time conflicts but also the drive time (perhaps during rush hour) between places, and parking fees, and all that logistical nasty stuff.

Many thanks to Louise, for storing the old festival book where it was easy to find.  There’s even a copy of the ballot rankings (average in a range of 0-5).  If I don’t remember a film, perhaps that’s a sign that it wasn’t so memorable as to stick in my aging brain for seven years?  Interpret it as you may….

  1. [Nine Good Teeth](, USA. So-so. Scored 4.23
  2. [The Seagull's Laughter](, Iceland.  Saw this one twice, it was so good.  I know this one is available from NetFlix, so why are you still reading this blog?  Stop now, and go get it!  Scored 4.56.
  3. [Dragonflies](, Norway. So-so.  Scored 3.83
  4. [A Trumpet in the Wadi](, Israel. Would see again. Scored 4.27
  5. [Schmelvis: The Search for the King's Jewish Roots](, Canada/Israel.  A bit silly, but would see again. Scored 3.83
  6. [Three Nights on a Saturday](, Chile. Would see again, if I remember correctly. Scored 3.42
  7. [A Decade Under the Influence](, USA. Don't remember.
  8. [Days Like This](, Sweden. Would see again. Scored 4.15
  9. [Hukkle](, Hungary.  Don't remember. Scored 4.17
  10. [To Be and To Have](, France.  Saw this one twice, also, though we had to wait for the "Best of Fest" week to catch it.  Scored #1 of the festival, 4.8
  11. [God Is Great, I'm Not](, France.  Don't remember.  Scored 3.25
  12. [Zus and Zo](, Netherlands.  Would see again. Scored 4.57
  13. [Everyone Loves Alice](, Sweden.  I liked this one a lot; I thought that the average score by MSPIFF ballots, 4.16, could have been a bit higher, but hey.
  14. [Under the Skin of the City](, Iran. Would see again.
  15. [Me and Morrison](, Finland. So-so. Scored 3.56
  16. [Amen](, France. This was a powerful film about the Holocaust and one interpretation (a controversial one) about the Catholic Church's role in it, or more exactly, lack of role/action.  Together with "The Seagull's Laughter", this was the best of the fest, IMHO.
  17. [Stone Raft](, Portugal. Don't remember.
  18. [Mr. & Mrs. Iyer](, India. Would see again.
  19. [Jylama](, Kazakhstan. Would see again.
  20. [On the Road to Emmaus](, Finland. Don't remember.
  21. [Beneath the Clouds](, Australia. Don't remember. Best of Fest selection.
  22. [Long Gone](, USA. Would see again. Best of Fest selection.
  23. [Marooned in Iraq](, Iran. Don't remember. Best of Fest selection.