Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 4: ‘Despite The Gods’

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Making a movie is tough. Making a movie in India is tougher. Making a movie in India while living in the shadow of your legendary father David Lynch is – as Larry David may put it – pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty tough.

But director Jennifer Lynch was up for the task, and allowed an Australian documentary crew intimate access to her life (at that of her pre-teen daughter Sydney) while undertaking the production of the Bollywood horror flick Hisss in 2008.

After a long hiatus from Hollywood following 1993’s Boxing Helena, her disastrous directorial debut at age 19, Lynch finds some critical acclaim 15 years later with her sophomore feature, Surveillance. With the momentum, she heads to India with her daughter to make a movie about a sexy, shape-shifting snake woman.

You know going into Despite The Gods that this probably won’t end well for Lynch. And she can’t help but recall the uncertainty in her father’s creative life between the fiasco that was Dune and the career saver that was Blue Velvet; a time when Papa Lynch was considered dead in the water. And like her father during that troubled era, she worries that her third feature film may be her last.

Filmmaker/camerawoman Penny Vozniak emphasizes the on-set joy and camaraderie of Lynch’s project, rather than descend too deeply into the wretched nightmare that is the motivational core of any film’s production.

And Jennifer Lynch’s chutzpah, perseverance and likeability is captivating, and may even influence some young filmmakers to take the frightening, and perhaps futile, leap.

~Stephen Swanson

Despite The Gods plays at St. Anthony Main Theater tonight at 7:30 p.m. with an additional screening on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:05 p.m.

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 Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 4: Despite The Gods
(credit: Worldview Entertainment)

Other Highlights: Sunday, April 6

Joe (David Gordon Green; USA) Nicolas Cage plays a grizzled, southern ex-con who becomes the protector of a troubled young man. Director David Gordon Green takes a break from his stoner comedies of late (Pineapple Express and Your Highness) to deliver a film that’s more in line with his celebrated debut George Washington. (7:15 p.m.)

Le Chef (Daniel Cohen; Spain) Jean Reno plays a top chef who needs to jazz up his restaurant in order to keep his strong Michelin Guide rating. He enlists a scrappy young wannabe chef (Michael Youn) to help him appear to be on top of the latest, pretentious foodie trends. (7:15 p.m.)

The Congress (Ari Folman; Israel) In his follow-up to the powerful animated feature Waltz With Bashir, director Ari Folman shifts his creative focus from the Middle East’s troubles to actress Robin Wright, who plays herself as an aging actress. Wright decides to have herself scanned to preserve her youth and star power. This out-there animated feast also stars Paul Giamatti and Harvey Keitel. (9:30 p.m.)

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For the festival schedule, and a complete listing of all the movies being shown, click here. Ticket information is available here.

Throughout the entirety of the 2014 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, we’ll be spotlighting one notable movie each day, along with other notable screenings. To see the WCCO Movie Blog’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.

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