Thanks to a fairly likely set of circumstances, I signed on as a tech for the Vermont International Film Festival this year. I jumped on the opportunity when one of the directors literally asked me for two reasons: meeting new people and seeing films that likely would never, ever cross my eyes — because it’s no great revelation I’m something of an inadventurous film watcher.
Saturday the 22nd was day one for me, two for the festival.
Enjoy Your Meal
This is a Dutch documentary about where our food comes from, who grows it and the effects of globalization. It shows large and small scale shrimp farmers, settlers clearing tracts of land in the Amazon, cattle-raisers in Kenya and the pea plantation with which they contend for access to water.
It’s a very understated film, almost to the point of dull. I took it to mean the director took pains not to cast one party or another as the “bad guy.” I can appreciate that, but it still made watching and staying engaged difficult, particularly as there wasn’t an overarching narrative to stick with.
LuLu is a pharmacologist developing a drug to fight cancer. Then she’s diagnosed with it. Her friend / lover / person of significance is also a film student, who spends the next fifteen months documenting LuLu’s journey through treatment, reaching peace with her relationships and continuing to live life in the face of an aggressive, resilient cancer.
It’s not often a movie put a bit of grit in my eye that I can’t dislodge easily. The LuLu Sessions is one of them. It’s an open and frank view into a relationship, love, death and coming to peace with that. We see not only the intimate moments of LuLu’s life, but also director Casper Wong’s own thoughts and feelings on the charmingly irascible, sometimes volatile woman she loves.