Friday, 15 October 2021

London Film Festival (LFF) 2021 #8 - Cannon Arm And The Arcade Quest

The end of day three and one of the few documentaries that I’m seeing this year (in contrast to last year which was pretty documentary heavy, largely due to pandemic-based reasons). If you’ve seen King Of Kong then you can consider this a companion piece of sorts (with some crossover…) Cannon Arm And The Arcade Quest Dir. Mads Hedegaard / Dur. 90 mins Strand:- Love In A Nutshell:- Danish arcade legend Kym Cannon Arm sets out to beat his own personal best of playing arcade game Gyruss for 49 hours straight on a single coin. His aim this time is to top 100 hours… The Good:- It’s fitting that this one sits in the “Love” strand of the festival as it’s a joyous celebration of friendship and camaraderie within a section of society that is often pushed to the fringes. The near silent Kym and his group of arcade-playing, poetry-spouting, Bach-analysing friends are there to support and cheer each other on through thick and thin. While it covers similar ground and feels thematically slightly similar to the documentary King Of Kong (in that both films chart an arcade obsessive’s quest to beat a record), there’s no Billy Mitchell-style villain of this piece; the game itself being the obstacle to be overcome.* The film also does a good job of successfully winding up the tension for Kym’s record attempt, managing to make footage of a man standing at an arcade machine for hours on end somehow epic. The Bad:- There’s a running theme about particles, quantum theory and the universe as a whole which is maybe laid on a bit thick for my tastes but it’s a minor personal quibble in an otherwise enjoyable film. The Verdict:- It’s a film that has a lot of love for its unconventional subjects and is all the better for it. One of those lovely hidden delights that the film festival is all about - it’s always a joy to find a film that you can’t wait to recommend to other people and look forward to being able to watch again. A highlight of the festival for me. Q&A Notes:- The director’s original plan was for the film to be more cinema verite but that changed when it became apparent that Kym rarely spoke, not exactly making for fascinating viewing on its own. Once he discovered the supporting group of friends though, the film came together. This is the director’s first feature length film after making predominantly short films. He has tried Gyruss but wasn’t very good at it; he prefers other games such as Galaga. * Mitchell does make a brief cameo appearance on the phone and his fate in the King Of Kong is also mentioned.

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