LA Film Fest 2012

2 Journeys: A School Bus and Neil Young

LAFF Day 5

June 20, 2012
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Neil Young Journeys is the third documentary Jonathan Demme has made of musician Neil Young. This one documents a bit of a homecoming for Young as he does a concert at Massey Hall in Toronto.  Interspersed with that performance are scenes from Young driving between his home town, Omemee, Ontario, (which he calls “a town in north Ontario”) and Toronto.  The film will be enjoyable for Young’s fans, but there really isn’t much depth or insight into his background or creative process.

Do you know what happens to American school buses when they get old?  La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus follows one such bus to Guatemala where it is transformed into a bus that will carry people from a rural village into the city.  Along the way we meet various people involved in that journey.  For some this is a dream.  For some it provides a living they can’t find any other way.  There are dangers involved as well.  It is the people that are the real heart of this film, the bus is merely a (ahem) vehicle.  It should be noted that at eight-twelve years old, the buses still have a good amount of life in them.  Many of those from Central America and Africa who buy these buses are amazed that we would discard something still so usable.

A short film, Soil, played before La Camioneta.  It was an animated film with stylized art.  It was far more about technique than storytelling, but the technique was impressive.  One of the good things about festivals is the chance to see such films that may be harbingers of developing talent.

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Darrel is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) living in southern California