Monday, January 21, 2013

More Pigs, Lots More, Can You Believe it ?

Ok, I'll admit, yesterday's pig theme was a bit of a stretch. I really liked the oil pig portrait at the restaurant we went to and the first film we saw partially took place on a farm, so I made it a theme. Boy was I surprised today, when our first film of the day had pigs, many of them, in a supporting role.

The film was called "Upstream Color" and told the story of two people who had been abducted and drugged with some kind of organism. After their lives are completely destroyed and while they are in the rebuilding phase, they meet each other and latch on. It takes a while for them to figure out they have both been through the same thing (that thing which includes blue mold, some kind of worm and an eventual surgery that removes the worm, but somehow links them to a pig.) Kind of sci-fi, kind of horror, mostly confusing. While still painfully slow for our taste, the upside of this film was it had a plot and was very well made. It was the first film we saw that didn't feel like the filmmaker's grad school thesis.

We dashed from there, missing the Q & A where we might have been able to ask the director to fill in some of the plot holes, to our first documentary. Finally, a film I can recommend without reservation. In "When I Walk," documentary filmmaker, Jason DaSilva turns the cameras on himself. At the age of 26, he learns he has a very aggressive form of MS and for the next seven years films his steady decline. With a great sense of humor, strong sense of purpose and a completely unsympathetic, yet totally supportive mother, Jason soldiers on.

I don't want to give it away, but the film is much more about living than it is about disease. It has moments of gut-wrenching frustration followed by moments of joy and hope. Did I mention the strong, no-nonsense mom? She provides the plain truth and the levity in the film, but it's really Jason -- his commitment to film making, his reluctance to yield to the disease and his honest look at his life -- that makes this film so magical.

Jason and his wife Alice were on hand after the screening to answer questions about the film and, together they have become big advocates for people with disabilities. Completely frustrated by the difficulty Jason deals with in navigating New York in a scooter, they are working to improve accessibility for all. Check out their website/app: where you can add accessible businesses to a map of your area. This way your disabled neighbors will know where they can and cannot go. How great is that?

We have two more films tomorrow and a night time trip to Main Street. Hope to be hanging with the cool crowd. Yesterday, we did bump into Chris Matthews, of MSNBC fame. Here's my friend, Julia, chatting him up.


Shelly Gourlay said...

Pigs? Wonder why? I always love to hear about your adventures, and to learn what you think about the works you see. Have fun, Dana, and keep writing!

Felicia Rosenthal said...

The documentary sounds great. Amazing foresight for them to (it seems) have thought of filming his progression from so early on. You must have been so curious to see and hear him in person. Very cool.