I only made it to three films at Cinetopia this past weekend. I’d wanted to catch more but life catches up to you. In any case Saturday’s three were Big Sur (at the Michigan Theatre), and Broken and Pieta (at the DFT). Big Sur (Michael Polish, 2013) was the best, a contemplative, stream of consciousness take on famed beat novelist Jack Kerouac’s sojourn to the idyllic coastal region to escape the press and fans after his highly successful publication of the iconic On the Road. But his trip doesn’t provide real escape and Kerouac descends into more and more drinking, which would eventually kill him. Jean-Marc Barr (a star in many Lars von Trier films) is a dead ringer for Kerouac. The filmmaker captures the period (late-1950s) well and the dreamy cinematography fits the area’s beauty and Kerouac’s dissonance of mind. But I’m not terribly attracted to this type of low key drama with more voiceover narration than actual scene acting…..Next was Broken (Rufus Norris 2012). On a North London cul-de-sac lives three very dysfunctional families where tragedy besets all. The acting is fine but how much angst can one film have, let along three side-by-side neighbours, where the police are always being called, and anger and conflict keep exploding? Just a little over the top by this first time film director.....Finally, Pieta (2012) (picture above) by South Korean shock maestro Kim Ki-Duk, which won top prize at last year’s Venice Film Festival, in another in his uber violent series. Only the way this was hyped I was expecting more violence and more suspense – well more something, given it won the Italian festival’s top prize (really?!). Lee Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin) is a brutal enforcer for a loan shark who doesn’t have an ounce of mercy in his body. Violent, yes. But I have seen far worse from directors who specialize in violence as an art form. And, hey, the suspense could have been kicked-up a notch.