Afterschool – Miami Film Fest

Posted on April 6, 2009


I don’t really like ‘reviews’ of movies. I think you can learn something no matter how great or terrible a film is. So for the next couple of posts I’m just going to recap my thoughts and experiences on the few films I caught at the Miami International Film Festival.

Robert is a young American student at an elite East Coast preparatory school who accidentally captures on camera the tragic death of two classmates. Their lives become memorialized as part of an audio-visual assignment designed to speed up the campus-wide healing process. But the video memorial assignment results in an atmosphere of paranoia and unease among students and teachers. {IMDb}

Afterschool deals with our lives and everything surrounding it being on YouTube and how you can be voyeuristic, and I that’s the problem. I feel like the whole “OMG everything I do is on YouTube” thing is over. Yes, our lives are on the internet. Yes, kids do things parents don’t know about. Not much new there.

So the premise is kind of a snoozer. Even worse, the dialogue is cringingly painful at parts.

I will give it props for beautiful cinematography. The film cuts between normal, objective, “this is a movie shot on film” scenes and digital video from cameras the characters are using. I thought the way these two types of visuals were edited together were very interesting, as well as the way each medium was shot designed.

Also props for not having a soundtrack (that I noticed) and maintaining the movement of the film.

In the Q&A I learned a very weird coincidence. While the director wasn’t there, the producer said this was the director’s first feature, but he had made a short called Buy it Now. I’ve actually seen this short at the very first film festival I ever went to (CineVegas), and watching Afterschool reminded me of it because it does deal with a lot of the same themes (a girl documents herself selling her virginity on eBay).

One side rant – in the actual screening I overheard a guy in front of me mention how he was a filmmaker and had a film in the festival. So during the screening, this supposed filmmaker pulls out his phone and starts texting – bright screen glarring in my face. What the hell? No matter how bored you are or terrible the movie, especially at a film festival since the people that made the friggin’ film are there, don’t text. And especially if you’re a supposed filmmaker.

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