Day two was a nice, gentle ramp up for the festival. Tea Pets was frenetic and I think a lot was lost in translation that might have been more funny or relevant for a Chinese viewer. It was definitely a film aimed squarely at young kids and would probably keep them entertained. And they might learn something about ceramics! It also features an army of naughty sewer rats who serve a weird, hard to identify larger animal that might be a bearcat? a tanuki? a large weasel?  Any movie that has rats in it is automatically better in my book, but that’s a very personal preference.

The Farthest was truly a delightful movie and I rated it the full five stars for the audience voting for the Golden Space Needle award. Even if you’re not a space exploration fanatic like the spouse and I most definitely are (OMG YOU GUYS HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE UPCOMING MISSION TO JUPITER???), this film is not only informative, but also very entertaining and one of the most human-centered films about space exploration that I’ve seen in recent memory. The interviews with a broad swath of scientists and engineers who were involved in the project really shows all the myriad ways that projects like this one expand our knowledge.  And it shows how emotionally involved everyone working on building and monitoring these spacecraft become. The soundtrack is wonderfully evocative and includes one of my secret favorite songs of the 1970s, “Calling Occupants of Interstellar Craft” by the Carpenters. This is definitely a stand out from the festival so far.