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Thread: San Francisco International Film Festival 2011 (year 54)

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    San Francisco International Film Festival 2011 (year 54)


    April 21 to May 5, 2011

    The Filmleaf Festival Coverage thread for the 2011 festival begins here.

    March 29, 2011. The San Francisco International Film Festiva has announced its program today with the usual press conference on the beautiful top floor of the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, with Graham Leggett, Executive Director of the SFFS, presiding in his fifth year at the Society's helm.

    The full program of the festival films begins here.

    I will plan to attend and review films.

    There are 189 films from forty-odd countries. I've already seen around 18 of them, which gives me a slight headstart.

    Opening night film is Mike Mills' Beginners with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer. Centerpiece is Azarel Jacobs' Terri. Closing night film is Matthieu Amalric's On Tour (Tournée).

    Special awards are going to legendary screenwriter Frank Pierson; Persist ence of Vision Award to artist Matthew Barney; the Mel Novikoff Award for contribution to public appreciation of film goes to film restorer/showman Serge Bromberg (whose Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno was in the SFIFF last year).
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-30-2011 at 03:06 AM.

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    From the short SFIFF "Miniguide," a few titles that look interesting:

    CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (Werner Herzog 2010). I've wanted to see this about the 30,000-year-old cave paintings we will never be able to see in person. Amazing images, and an amazing filmmaker. It has been shown in NYC and is coming here to theaters, however.

    CIRCUMSTANCE (Maryam Keshavarz 2011). As I've mentioned before, this is one in the new New Directors/New Films series that I missed and people said was great. It's about young women in Tehran living under the radar and won a Sundance Audience Award.

    DETROIT WILD CITY (Florent Tillon 2011). Documentary by a French director about the devastated yet beautiful Detroit of today. New and amazing things may be happening there.

    HA HA HA (Hong Sang-soo 2010). I have often liked the Korean director's somewhat European-inspired films. This one has two men swapping stories (and flashbacks) at the seaside (a familiar Hong venue) and it turns out the people and events are intertwined.

    OUTRAGE (Takeshi Kitano 2010). The implacable and whimsical Kitano returns to the gangster genre. The VARIETY review describes it as "grisly" and "visually stunning," and says the "Tech credits are superlative."

    13 ASSASSINS (Takashi Miike 2010). In a similar vein a new gangster film by the Asian cult master, recently featured at a series at Lincoln Center.

    THE TRIP (Michael Winterbottom 2010) Winterbottom takes the people from his TRISTRAM SHANDY and riffs forward. The VARIETY reviewer says 'Michael Winterbottom's "The Trip" is about 20 minutes too long, but the other 90 are among the funniest in recent memory.'

    This is just a first look, and might not be all movies you need to go to a film festival for. More will be revealed as I go over the list again and talk to people. I am sure there are some excellent new documentaries, which I have not gotten to yet, except for the Detroit one.

    I have also seen fifteen or so of the selections at NY events. They'll be listed with links in the SFIFF 2011 Festival Coverage thread.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-30-2011 at 03:05 AM.

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    Agustí Villaronga: Black Bread (2010)

    This Catalan-language coming-of-age film set in 1944 was a major prizewinner in Spain last year and it's easy to see why. In contrast to del Toro's richly surreal and expressionistic Pan's Labyrinth, which in setting and focus it resembles (also including Sergi López as a local fascist official), this film is marked by a simplicity and austerity that link it to the masterpieces of Italian neorealism, but there is a greater moral ambiguity.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-12-2011 at 12:47 AM.

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    Excellent!
    Thanks for giving us something to be excited about.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Thanks. I will be posting more previews and reviews gradually from now on, though the main screenings don't start till ten days from now. This is a very good film.

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    The Arbor (Clio Barnard 2010)

    Documentary and realism seamlessly blend in the portrait of a working-class playwright

    Location shots, real people, and actors are deployed in a seamless amalgam in this recollection of of the talented but short-lived alcoholic working-class playwright from Bradford, West Yorkshire, in the north of England, Andrea Dunbar.

    A tough ride but a very compulsively watchable one. This is just a preview. The full review will appear later after Strand's release later this month.

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    Radim Spacek: Walking Too Fast (2009)

    1980's meltdown of a secret police sociopath. Despite a similar setup --focusing on an intellectual under surveillance and the chief operative on the case -- this Czech film has none of the warmth or detail -- or the logic -- of Von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others, but it conveys the madness of Soviet-era repression rather well through one character, an elite operative of the StB in Prague in 1982, in a repellant but compelling performance by actor Ondrej Malý. More a psychological portrait than a "political thriller." Big prize-winner at the Prague Oscars, but not a box office success at home.

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    Ali Samadi Ahadi: The Green Wave (2010)

    This documentary by an Iranian expatriate living in Germany uses talking heads, newsreels, cell phone videos, feeds from Twitter and blogs and animation to tell the tragic story of the revolution of spring and summer 2009 in Iran that ended in a fixed election and violent repression, which may be considered the first spark of the revolts sweeping the Middle East today from Tunisia to Yemen. It tells us everything except exactly how it came about and how it can happen again.

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    Linda Aschan: She Monkeys (2010)

    As in Céline Sciamma's 2007 Water Lilies, two young budding girls of contrasting personalities bond and clash around a female spsorting event, this time equestrian gymnastics in Sweden, in Lilies water ballet in Frace.

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    I went to the website to look at some of the trailers. The "watch" link opens a new "page" but the film never opens. The festival looks great. Wish I was there. Can't wait to hear all about it. I remember last year, you were the first person to write a review of "King's Speech" (which will be out on DVD next week). Looking forward to your picks for next year's best pix.

    Chris... you will love this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H-Vo...eature=related
    Last edited by cinemabon; 04-13-2011 at 08:59 PM.
    Colige suspectos semper habitos

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    C:

    If the "watch" trailers aren't working maybe your computer's software needs updating. It works for me. If you want to see a bit of one of the films, try looking it up on YouTube, which will have trailers for them too.

    The festival looks great. Wish I was there. Can't wait to hear all about it.
    You're hearing about it now. I already have links to twenty or so of the films, 4-7 or so of which are all new this week, and I'll be adding more as I see them, reviews or previews.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-13-2011 at 09:06 PM.

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    Federico Veiroj: A Useful Life (2010)

    In this enchanting little feature from Uruguay, the manager of a cinematheque in Montevideo sees the facility close, but his own life opens up. Filmed with non-actors, very close to the milieux of the story.

    You might want to contrast this with Davide Ferrario's After Midnight/Dopo mezzonotte (2004), starring Giorgio Pasotti, a film in which the magical Mole Antonelliana (the cavernous Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy) is the setting for a very unlikely love story.

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    Clio Barnard: The Arbor (2010)

    From England, a portrait of the northern working-class playwright Andrea Dunbar done in a skillful amalgam of "verbatim theater" with archival footage and location shots using actors lip-synching interviews with family and friends that Barnard spent two years doing before making the film. An award-winner for sound, structure, and acting that is so seamlessly acted it draws you in and you forget which is real and which a recreation.

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    The SF Film Society has announced that the chief director honored will be Oliver Stone.
    Wednesday, April 27, 7:00 pm
    Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
    1881 Post Street (at Fillmore)
    $20 members, $25 general

    In addition today (April 14, 2011):



    Festival Screening & Event Highlights
    SFIFF54 State of Cinema Address: Christine Vachon
    April 24, 9:00 pm Sundance Kabuki Cinemas




    The State of Cinema Address will be presented by indie film maverick Christine Vachon, the producer of a number of often controversial films, including all of Todd Haynes's projects. One of indie film's most formidable and well-respected figures, Vachon's take on the State of Cinema promises to enlighten and provoke.

    See details about the State of Cinema Address.

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    Kwaan, Chiang: Let the Wind Carry Me (2010)

    Portrait of Mark Lee Ping Bing, an important cinemtographer who has notably collaborated with Hou Hsiau-hsien and Wong Kar-wai, and contributed his subtle sense of color and light to fifty films.

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