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

  1. #31
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    How exciting! Conversely, my travel during the past year were short trips to Milwaukee and New Orleans, strictly on business. The Nola trip inconveniently coinciding with the MIFF. Since there were no press screenings before the fest this year, I ended up watching only about 14 movies or so. As it is with any publication, there are guidelines concerning length: 1000 words for DVD and book reviews and 1500 words for festival reports.I only wrote about half the movies I watched including, of course, the 3 I mentioned in the previous post. There were 4 or 5 that I think are slightly less accomplished( or whatever) but this is a matter of opinion. I am sure there are people who think Oscar-winner In a Better World (which I watched at the fest just before it opened) is a better film than my 3 favorites, for instance. I watched an Israeli film, INTIMATE GRAMMAR, a movie from Iceland, MAMMA GOGO, and one from Argentina, THE INVISIBLE EYE, which are quite good and probably would do better at the box office than the 3 I loved. Check them out, and do post from abroad about the stuff you get to watch.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 04-27-2011 at 11:17 AM.

  2. #32
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    Yes, I always see interesting new films in NYC and Paris.

    It would still be nice to see a list of those 14 films you saw at Miami.

    I will be seeing Alejandro Chomski's Asleep in the Sun/Dormir al sol (Argentina) today.

    I still plan to see if time allows:

    Tatiana Huezo: The Tiniest Place (2011)--Mexico

    Better This World (Galloway, de la Vega 2011)--USA

    The Dish and the Spoon (Allison Bagnoll 2011)--USA

    Marathon Boy (Gemma Atwal 2010)--India

    Circumstance (Maryam Keshavarz 2010)--Iran


    That will mean I've seen 35 SFIFF selections, counting the 15 I'd already seen in NYC.

  3. #33
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    Sounds like fun.Enjoy.

    NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT
    BEYOND
    HALF OF OSCAR
    INTIMATE GRAMMAR
    THE INVISIBLE EYE
    MAMMA GOGO
    A USEFUL LIFE
    IN A BETTER WORLD
    MARTI, THE EYE OF THE CANARY (Cuba/Spain)
    POTICHE
    GESHER (Iran)
    WATER AND SALT (Argentina)
    ARMADILLO (Denmark)
    TILVA ROS

  4. #34
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    Thanks! In a Better World has been showing in Landmark theaters but I haven't had a chance to see it, though I do still hope to.
    Intimate Grammar was recommended by Howard Schumann. I saw and reviewed Potiche as part of the Rendez-Vous at Lincoln Center/IFC earlier this year. We've discussed A Useful Life and Tilva Rosh on this thread, and I mentioned Nostalgia for the Light is one I might still see as part of the SFIFF. Beyond and Half of Oscar, your other favorites, I don't know about.

    The Invisible Eye is another sly Argentinian period film. I don't know where I might see it so far.

    It looks like we are losing your Miami reporting due to Film International. As I said, your link on Filmleaf to your last year's coverage there no longer works.

  5. #35
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    Alejandro Chomski: Asleep in the Sun (2010)

    A droll little piece of cinematic surrealism set in 1940's Buenos Aires and based on a story by the writer Adofo Bioy Casares, who died in 1999 but whom the director knew. This is Kafka with a whimsical touch. The disquiet is slow in coming but builds in a rush in the final scene, a wake where dogs and people have traded personalities. Art direction is delicious and makes up for a lack of depth in the story.

  6. #36
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    Tatiana Huezo: The Tiniest Place (2011)

    Powerful and aesthetically superb first feature documentary about Cinquera, a small village in El Salvador wiped out by the national guard in the civil war and now rebuilt. Narrated by seven survivors who now live here again.

    From the first five minutes I knew this was superbly done. It shows what filmmaking is about, the creative sequencing of the raw material of images and sound to build something eloquent and fresh, something nobody's ever quite made before. This is why one watches festival films. It makes you wish you could make a documentary but it humbles you because you know you could never do anything 1/100th as good at this. Huezo studied in Spain and is Mexican but was born in Salvador and her grandmother lived in Cinquera.

  7. #37
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    Kelly Duane, Katie Galloway: Better This World (2011)

    Doc to be shown on "POV" about two young men who went to the Twin Cities to disrupt the 2008 Republican Convention and were put in jail for terrorism. The filmmakers have such remarkable documentation and access this seems almost like reality television, but with a politically very thought-provoking message about the possibilities for dissent and the use of informers in post-9/11 America.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-29-2011 at 08:44 PM.

  8. #38
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    Allison Bognall: The Dish and the Spoon (2022)

    Another new Amerindie film, a wistful seaside romance between an angry wife (Greta Gerwig) whose husband has just slept with aother woman and an English waif (Olly Alexander) just dumped by his girlfriend. Greata doesn't take Oly as seriously as Olly takes Greta, but till the director runs out of original improvs they make an interesting odd couple. The film achieves charm and steers clear of twee.

  9. #39
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    Maryam Keshavarz: Circumstance (2011)

    As mentioned earlier I missed this at New Directors/New Films in March. Some people said I'd missed one of the best of the series. And then some said I had not missed that much after all. That left me wishing I'd seen it. Had I seen it then, I would have published a whole review, because there was no constraint on doing so at ND/NF, but the SFIFF has a "hold review" rule for a lot of titles because they're coming out in US theaters later, or hope to.... For a full review go to my website. You might want to see this and judge for yourself. I'd tend to agree with the Robert Kohler, who sums things up: "Certain to be discussed more for its daring depiction of a lesbian relationship in present-day Tehran than for its artistic merits, writer-director Maryam Keshavarz's 'Circumstance' suggests a new way of showing stories about young Iranians even as it stumbles and falls over myriad narrative miscalculations."

  10. #40
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    The SFIFF has announced awards.

    Golden Gate Award Documentary Feature Winners
    Investigative Documentary Feature:
    Crime After Crime, Yoav Potash (USA 2011)
    · Winner receives $25,000 cash prize
    Documentary Feature:
    Better This World, Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway (USA 2011)
    · Winner receives $20,000 cash prize
    Bay Area Documentary Feature:
    Better This World, Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway (USA 2011)
    · Winner receives $15,000 cash prize and $2000 laboratory services from EFILM Digital Laboratories.

    New Directors Award:
    The Journals of Musan, Park Jung-bum (South Korea 2010)
    · Winner receives $15,000 cash prize

    FIPRESCI Prize:
    The Salesman, Sébastien Pilote (Canada 2011)

    I didn't see Crime After Crime -- or The Salesman. Variety's lukewarm review of the latter gives no hint of FIPRESCI potential: "A surprisingly autumnal first feature for a writer-director still under 40. . . Melancholy piece is a commercial nonstarter. . . fest play and homefront awards could spur niche DVD and quality broadcast sales offshore."

    I reviewed Better This World, a good and politically relevant documentary showing a remarkable degree of access to people and information. In terms of the filmmaker's art not to mention documentary power, I would strongly recommend another doc from the festival, The Tiniest Place. In terms of originality of method both The Arbor and The Mill and the Cross are even more unusual and get my strongest recommendations.

    In honoring the director of Journals of Musan, the fest vollows Tribeca, which gave the director a similar award.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-05-2011 at 11:16 AM.

  11. #41
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    Takashi Miike: 13 Assassins (2010)

    Gore specialist Miike turns to a more traditional genre with this samurai movie whose very long and dazzling battle sequence might invite comparison with Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. This gimmicky tour de force really doesn't have the profound meaning and rich structure of the Kurosawa masterpiece and may be a contemporary debasement of the tradition, but nonetheless it's a must-see for fans of the genre or of Miike. It actually opened just before the SFIFF screening, and I saw it at the IFC Center in NYC after missing it in San Francisco. It will be rolling out in release in various US locations in May, June, and July 2011 as listed here.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-06-2011 at 08:14 AM.

  12. #42
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    STRAND RELEASING has announced some upcoming releases that are relevant to the SFIFF and some other recent Festival Coverage items:


    The Arbor (Clio Barnard). Opens in LA May 13, 2011.
    I’m Glad That My Mother Is Alive (Claude and Natan Miller). Summer.
    The Sleeping Beauty (Catherine Breillat). IFC Center NYC July 8, LA July 29.
    Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangar). TBA.

    Also from the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2011:
    Service Entrance (Philippe Le Guay), TBA.

    From the NYFF 2010:
    Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff. NYC May 13, LA June 3.

  13. #43
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    Werner Herzog: Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

    The long-heralded, long-awaited film at last, in 3D, about the oldest cave paintings known and perhaps the most spectacular. A wonderful film from the always-exceptional Herzog -- and yet aesthetically a little disappointing, for one who paged through the Lascaux books years ago. New information and new technology here, but still no final answers and maybe not quite enough questions or hypotheses.

    Part of the SFIFF but now showing at IFC Center in NYC (opened there April 29, 2011).

  14. #44
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    Here is an updated link index of my SFIFF 2011 reviews including films I have seen since the festival ended.



    INDEX OF LINKS TO MY REVIEWS OF THE FESTIVAL FILMS:

    (Including films seen and/or reviewed previously at NYFF 2110, R-V [Rendez-Vous with French Cinema] 2010 or 2011, or ND/NF [New Directors/New Films 2011)

    13 Assassins (Takashi Miike 2010)
    L'Amour Fou (Pierre Thorreton 2010)
    Arbor, The (Clio Barnard 2010)
    Asleep in the Sun (Alejandro Chomski 2010)
    At Ellen's Age (Pia Marais 2010) ND/NF
    Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangari 2010) ND/NF
    Aurora (Cristi Puiu 2010) NYFF
    Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu, The (Andrei Uticǎ 2010) NYFF
    Beginners (Mike Mills 2010)
    Better This World (Kelly Duane, Katie Galloway 2011)
    Black Bread (Agustí Villaronga 2010)
    Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975, The (Göran Hugo Olsson: 2011) ND/NF
    Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog 2010)
    Chantrapas (Otar Iosseliani 2010)
    Circumstance (Maryam Keshavarz 2011)
    City Below, The (Christoph Hochhäusler 2010)
    Dolce Vita, La (Federico Fellini) (Restored print) (no review)
    Dish and the Spoon, The (Abigail Bognall 2011)
    Foreign Parts (Verena Paravel, J.P. Sniadecki, 2010) NYFF (no review)

    Future, The (Miranda July 2011)
    Green Wave, The (Ali Samadi Ahadi 2010)
    Hands Up (Romain Goupil 2010) R-V 2011
    Hospitalité (Koji Fukada 2010) ND/NF
    I'm Glad My Mother Is Alive (Claude Miller, Nathan Miller 2009) R-V 2010
    Incendies (Denis Villeneuve 2010) ND/NF
    Journals of Musan (Park Jung-bum 2010)
    Let the Wind Carry Me (Kwan, Chiang 2010)
    Love in a Puff (Pang Ho-cheung 2010)
    Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt 2010) NYFF
    Microphone (Ahmad Abdalla 2010) ND/NF
    Mill and the Cross, The (Lech Majewski 2011)
    My Joy (Sergei Loznitsa 2010) NYFF
    Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz 2010) NYFF
    On Tour (Matthieu Amalric 2010)
    Page One: Inside the New York Times (Andrew Rossi 2011)
    Quattro Volte, Le (Michelangelo Frammartino 2010) NYFF
    She Monkeys (Linda Aschan 2010)
    Silent Souls (Alexei Fedorchenko 2010) NYFF
    Sleeping Beauty, The (Catherine Breillat 2010) R-V 2011
    Something Ventured (Dan Geller, Danya Goldfine 2011)
    Tilva Rosh (Nikola Lezaic 2010)
    Tiniest Place, The (Tatiana Huezo 2011)
    Trip, The (Michael Winterbottom 2010)
    Useful Life, A (Federico Veiroj 2010)
    Walking Too Fast (Radim Spacek 2009)

  15. #45
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    That's a lot of reviews!
    Perhaps this is not the right thread to ask if you (or anyone) have seen, perhaps at a festival or abroad, two films I liked that seem to have opened comercially only in Miami: Of Love and other Demons and Park Benches (Bancs Publics).

    "In her startlingly assured debut, "Of Love and Other Demons," Costa Rican writer-director Hilda Hidalgo has seemingly unlocked the key to translating the cerebral sensuality of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's writing into film, providing one of the few screen adaptations worthy of the Colombian novelist's source material. She's aided immensely in this effort by two impeccable lead performances and painterly cinematography, but the seemingly casual mastery of difficult narrative rhythms is all her own." (Variety)

    Review of Park Benches: http://www.eyeforfilm.co.uk/reviews.php?id=8627

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