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Thread: Fiftieth Anniversary SFIFF 2007

  1. #46
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    KARIM AINOUZ: LOVE FOR SALE: SUELY IN THE SKY (2006)

    A misfire from the Brazilian director best known for Madame Satã.



    LOVE FOR SALE: SUELY IN THE SKY (KARIM AINOUZ 2006)


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  2. #47
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    You must be exhausted with film viewing and reviewing, Chris. Great job though. Festival reviews have a long life because we might have to wait years for some of these films to become available outside the festival circuit. I mean...Los Muertos finally got a theatrical release a month or so ago.

    I know from reading your reviews carefully that Rage and The Yacoubian Building are not films I would enjoy. I'd love to watch How is Your Fish today? It has that kind of meta-narrative used by Watkins in Edvard Munch and Hou in The Puppetmaster and others. It has the same distributor as Sweet Land and Old Joy so if it doesn't come to a theater near me I can get it on dvd.

    I'd give Karim Ainouz's film a chance, partly because of Sata and the two films he penned which I've reviewed (Lower City and Cinema, Aspirin and Vultures), but most importantly because of DP Walter Carvahlo, who lensed perhaps the most beautiful film I've seen this decade: Lavoura Arcaica (finally available on dvd under the title "To the Left of the Father").

    Congorama got called contrived and overplotted in Variety but I'll watch anything with Olivier Gourmet.

    Agua sounds delicious. I can probably get the dvd from friends who travel to Buenos Aires regularly.

  3. #48
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    Thanks for these responses. I don't know why you wouldn't be interested in The Yacoubian Building, but having lived in Cairo, I admittedly have an connection you and others on this site would lack. You don't seem to gravitate to Middle Eastern cinema. I'm interested in what comes out of that area or relates to it. As for Rage (Turkey of course not "the Middle East"), if you're interested in urban social problems it is a must-see, though it's not fun to watch. I think it's extremely interesting to analyze the mind-set of the Turkish-born German resident writer/director. I could only touch on that.

    The cinematography in Suely/Love for Sale is beautiful at many points, but it's a bit wasted, partly because the print didn't always look that good. I became aware of its beauty partly through looking at the stills afterwards. There is a huge range of image qualities nowadays, compared to the past when film was the only medium. I have not seen anything but Madam Sata and this new one, both in theaters. Production quality isn't high, but he's got a good cinematographer. You may disagree on everything but the latter point.

    I hope you like How Is Your Fish Today? I may add a final note about disappointments on rewatching it on the big screen. They were projecting a dvd. I became aware that the latter part needed cutting, but the writing and editing were good most of the way.

    As I said in my review, Congorama seems to me more like a novel than a film. I don't mean it's uncinematic, just that the plotting suggests a book. It's not "overplotted," but its plotting is cerebral. It seems like 90% of the time a film is expected to be on a simpler level than most novels. I can think of lots of overeventful or overplotted films (some deliriously or hilariously--intentionally--so), but this wasn't that. It can be accused of being ingenious.

    Agua is nice.

    Personally one of the highlights was Daratt. Along the Ridge also grabbed me; Il Caimano to some extent; there have been very few real disappointments, below par items. But nothing as magical as News from Afar, as far out as Brothers of the Head, as nicely done as Play (those from last year), or as unforgettable as Los Muertos (from two years ago). I'm not counting some that I'd already seen that are great: Dans Paris, Flanders, Bamako.

    Only a couple more days. I am behind in review-writing but have to try to watch as many as I can before the final day.

    I don't think we were invited to the opening gala for which tickets cost $85, but we are invited to the finale, but since I've seen La Vie en Rose I'll skip it. I'm in this for the film-watching, not for the schmoozing or celebrity-watching.

    I think we love some films for what they could have been, when it was something we've always wanted. How Is Your Fish Today? is that for me. It doesn't quite come up to the fantasy, but the ideas are there.

    I'm not exhausted but I'll be glad when it's over.

  4. #49
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Chris Knipp
    I don't know why you wouldn't be interested in The Yacoubian Building. You don't seem to gravitate to Middle Eastern cinema.
    The reasons have to do with "Smashed-together telenovela", "heavy-handed emotional manipulation", prejudiced", "wrong kind of lense used", "some exterior sound is awful"... I have no opinion of the film of course but it sounds like something I can afford to pass on given there are more good films to watch than one has available time.

    You know I gravitate to good cinema from everywhere. I have no less or more interest in a movie because it's American or French or Iranian. From Egypt, the best films I've seen are by Youssef Chahine, whom we've discussed before.


    The cinematography in Suely/Love for Sale is beautiful at many points, but it's a bit wasted, partly because the print didn't always look that good. I became aware of its beauty partly through looking at the stills afterwards.
    This is most likely a projection problem. I had a similar problem at the MIFF with the press screening of Glue: Historia de un Adolescente en Medio de la Nada. I raised the issue with the person in charge of quality control and they were very grateful because they were able to avoid similar problems at the public screening of the film.

    I hope you like How Is Your Fish Today? I may add a final note about disappointments on rewatching it on the big screen. They were projecting a dvd.

    This happened to me at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. It's lamentable and only acceptable when it's made clear beforehand that they'll be projecting a dvd.

    Personally one of the highlights was Daratt. Along the Ridge also grabbed me
    I've had my eye on Daratt for a while. I guess we should start referring to it as Dry Season since that's the title used for its release in NYC last month. The distributor is tiny but I think there'll be a dvd. Along the Ridge sounds interesting.

    Only a couple more days. I am behind in review-writing but have to try to watch as many as I can before the final day.
    Sounds very familiar.

    I'm in this for the film-watching, not for the schmoozing or celebrity-watching.
    That's the spirit!
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 05-09-2007 at 06:23 PM.

  5. #50
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    Portrait of a cantankerous hermit acts as a parable for modern Russia



    PAVEL LOUNGUINE: THE ISLAND (2006)


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  6. #51
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    Oscar:

    Not to belabor the point, but The Yacoubian Building is highly significant as an attempted comprehensive portrait of the country, despite its faults, but you can choose as you like. I notice you mention Iran, but not Morocco, Algeria, Egypt. . .but better things are coming out of Latin America, I'm very ready to grant.

    If those two films were shown on projected dvd's, isn't that the fault or shortcoming of the limited budgets of the makers? Had they brought film, it would have been used. This wasn't the only disappointment in re-watching How Is Your Fish Today? I also saw weaknesses in the overall design and the editing that I had overlooked the first time. I'm not sure the jurors here care, because lat year they gave the SKYY Prize to Taking Father Home (Ying Liang), a Chinese movie shown in a crude-looking dvd version.

    Had forgotten that Daratt had opened in NYC. I did see that somewhere. But my head is spinning now, and I really am getting tired, and I'm feeling quite frustrated too because I was working on six or seven reviews at the same time, and the Word files of three of them became corrupted and the reviews effectively lost. That was quite a blow when I have so many to do. I don't know if I can face trying to recreate them in toto.

    A postscript on The Yacoubian Building:

    Today's (final?) publicity release from the festival includes this information in the awards listings. :
    The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Francisco Vargas Quevedo's The Violin, with Sounds of Sand, Vanaja, The Yacoubian Building and Zolykha’s Secret rounding out the top five audience favorites in the category.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-11-2007 at 12:56 AM.

  7. #52
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    Death in a family, seen from the eyes of a mysterious outsider.


    LEE YOON-KI: AD LIB NIGHT (2006)


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  8. #53
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    COMING REVIEWS OF THE SFIFF

    STILL TO COME, REVIEWS OF:

    LADY CHATTERLEY
    PARTING SHOT (WINNER OF THE FIPRESCI PRIZE)
    REPRISE
    THE SILLY AGE (WINNER OF THE CHRIS HOLTER HUMOR IN FILM AWARD)
    TIMES AND WINDS
    THE VIOLIN (WINNER OF THE SKYY PRIZE)
    THE WHISTLING BLACKBIRD

    PROBABLY WILL SEE ON THE LAST DAY:

    THE ORANGE REVOLUTION OR
    THE SUGAR CURTAIN
    (CAN'T SEE BOTH)

  9. #54
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Chris Knipp
    Oscar I notice you mention Iran, but not Morocco, Algeria, Egypt.
    You missed my point, which is that I don't care one bit where a film comes from or the predominant language spoken. I don't "gravitate" towards anything but good films. When I write: " I have no less or more interest in a movie because it's American or French or Iranian", the three national origins are random.

    two films were shown on projected dvd's, isn't that the fault or shortcoming of the limited budgets of the makers? Had they brought film, it would have been used.
    Festivals typically require production companies to provide the best possible presentation for the film in exchange for the privilege of having a certain film selected out of all entries submitted and exhibited.

    I'm not sure the jurors here care, because lat year they gave the SKYY Prize to Taking Father Home (Ying Liang), a Chinese movie shown in a crude-looking dvd version.
    Unacceptable. It's the festival administrators who don't seem to care.

    I really am getting tired, and I'm feeling quite frustrated too because I was working on six or seven reviews at the same time, and the Word files of three of them became corrupted and the reviews effectively lost. That was quite a blow when I have so many to do. I don't know if I can face trying to recreate them in toto.
    That sucks man. Sorry.

  10. #55
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    I reviewed Le Yoon-ki's debut This Charming Girl.
    That film kept the focus squarely on the main character but also could use some trimming around the middle. It's great how easy Korean films with Eng. subs on dvd can be bought on the net. If Ad Lib Night is not available on Korean dvd at the moment, it will soon.

  11. #56
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    Thank you for your comments. I'd probably like to watch This Charming Girl.

    I cannot comment knowledgeably on the technicalities of festival film screening and the image quality. I gather that the projection of a video or non-film entity can be quite sophisticated now. I just saw The Sugar Curtain, the documentary by Camila Guzman Urzua, and it looked pretty good, it was projected on a really big screen in a really large auditorious, and the equipment they used was not film projection but it looked quite elaborate, in the back of the auditorium. So I'm not so sure that the use of a projected dvd is now always to be considered "lamentable."
    It's the festival administrators who don't seem to care.
    In the case of Taking Father Home, then, if you want to put it that way, niether the admistrators nor the jurors "seem to care." They probably do care. But they make allowances for lack of image sharpness that they would not have made probably during the era when there was only film used. And then, there is David Lynch's Inland Empire, used with a "cheap" video camera ($2,000-$3,000) and grainy looking, yet it works. But in the cases of beginners with no budget, like Ying Liang, it just looks like a biginner working with a cheap camera. He's never used film, unlike Lynch.

    Some of Camila Guzman Urzua's camerawork didn't appeal to me much, but I'll deal with that later. One usually makes some allowances for low budget documentaries one doesn't make for narrative features, I guess.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-11-2007 at 12:33 AM.

  12. #57
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    The festival is over today, and I'm personally glad that by some luck or dumb luck I happen to have this time seen the winners of the humor award (The Silly Age/La Edad de la Peseta), the Fipresci Prize (Parting Shot/Pas douce), and the SKYY Prize (The Violin, suggested by Oscar), plus the Cesar Best Film winner, Lady Chatterley's Lover. These are definitely of high quality, each in its own very different way. And I'm going to piece together those lost reviews of mine somehow, and move forward to write six or seven more. The festival was more of a hassle this year than last, I said "never again" more than once, but also the results for me were probably better this year overall, despite the lack of the magical experiences I had in earlier SFIFFs with those Latin American movies I keep mentioning, Los Muertos, Play, and Noticias Lejanas.

    Also bear in mind that in my view some of the best of this festival were in the NYFF or the Rendez-Vous, also as I've repeated before, Bamako, Flanders, Dans Paris, and I might mention tonight's closing celebration film, the glittering, dazzling, remarkably acted La Vie en Rose/La Mome, with Marie Cotillard.

    Links to more SFIFF 50/2007 reviews will follow in the next few days.

  13. #58
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    JEANNE WALTZ: A PARTING SHOT (2007)

    Delicate collision: tough turns tender (Fipresci Prize winner, with Isild Le Besco).


    JEANNE WALTZ: A PARTING SHOT (2007)


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  14. #59
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    CAMILA GUZMAN URZUA: THE SUGAR CURTAIN (2006)

    Documentary memoir: a childhood of lost hopes and ideals in Cuba


    CAMILA GUZMAN URZUA: THE SUGAR CURTAIN


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  15. #60
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    *I think it's important to note that Camila Guzman Urzua's father is Patricio Guzman, one of the greatest political documentary filmmakers in the world. I'm curious about the extent of his involvement with El Telon de Azucar (perhaps as a consultant). Here's a review of the last film he has released: Salvador Allende (2004)


    *Just to confirm, for anyone interested in Ad Lib Night after reading Chris Knipp's review, that the film is indeed available on NTSC dvd with English subs. As usual, the price is right: $8-$12 shipping included.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 05-11-2007 at 05:27 PM.

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