The first involves Saturday's selection of Kurdish films. Most of these were more interesting as artifacts than as art, but one short -- Ednan Osman's Garbage Dump -- was exceptional. A group of children is playing on pile of refuge, picking up remnants of the war; a wonderful series of surreal images and inspired lines ensues. At one point, a kid straps on an Osama mask, declares a "republic of garbage," and tells the others that he'll be following their progress from his hiding place on the moon. It was one of the better films of the festival, and I wish I'd had room to praise it in my piece.
The second observation involves some curious parallels. No matter what the Culture Warriors say, you can't sort all of the country into neat piles of red and blue. Last year Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Passion of the Christ were supposed to represent opposite poles of a deeply divided nation. But Michael Moore is a Catholic and Mel Gibson has criticized the war, and both have spoken kindly of each other's movies.
So for all the Republican partisanship on display last weekend, it wasn't always easy to distinguish these conservatives' critique of Hollywood from the criticisms you'll hear from the left. When festival co-founder Govindini Murty complained to me about the state of the cineplex, she told me that movies today feature "out of control violence" and a "fetish of the gun"; she pointed out that there has been "a real decrease in the number of roles for women"; and she argued, hyperbolically, that Hollywood has adopted the aesthetic values of the Nazis. If all that sounds familiar, it may be because liberals and feminists regularly make the exact same complaints.