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Thread: SFIFF 2014 - links and comments thread

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    SFIFF 2014 - links and comments thread



    San Francisco International Film Festival 2014 April 24-May 8

    Filmleaf Festival Coverage thread for SFIFF 57, 2014 begins here.


    Links to the reviews:

    20,000 Days on Earth (Ian Forsyth, Jane Pollard 2014)
    Abuse of Weakness (Catherine Breillat 2013)
    Amazing Catfish, The/Los insólitos pesces gato (Claudia Sainte-Luce 2013)
    Bad Hair/Pelo malo (Mariana Rondón 2013)
    Child of God (James Franco 2013)

    Club Sandwich (Fernando Eimbcke 2013)
    Dear White People (Justin Simien 2014)
    Double, The (Richard Ayoade 3014)
    Dune, The/La dune (Yossi Aviram 2013)
    Eastern Boys (Robin Campillo 2014)

    Freedom Summer (Stanley Nelson 2014)
    Happiness (Thomas Balmès 2014)
    Harmony Lessons (Emir Baigazin 2013)
    Heaven Adores You (Nikolas Dylan Rossi 2014)
    History of Fear (Benjamin Naishat 2013)
    If You Don't, I Will (Sophie Fillières 2014)
    Last Weekend (Tom Dolby, Tom Williams 2014)
    Manos Sucias (Josef Wladyka 2014)
    Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit 2013)
    Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz 2013)

    Obvious Child (Gillian Robbespiere 2014)
    Of Horses and Men (Benedict Erlingsson 2014)
    Our Sunhi (Hong Sang-soo 2013)
    Palo Alto (Gia Coppola 2013)
    Ping Pong Summer (Michael Tully 2014)
    Reconstruction, The/La reconstrucción (Juan Taratuto 2013)
    Return to Homs (Talal Derki 2013)

    Salvation Army (Abdellah Taïa 2013)
    School of Babel (Julie Bertucelli 2014)
    South Is Nothing/Il Sud è niente (Fabio Mollo 2013)
    Stop the Pounding Heart (Robert Minervini 2013)

    Stray Dogs (Tsing Ming-liang 2013)
    Tamako in Moratorium (Nobuhiro Yamashita 2013)
    Tangerines (Zaza Urshadze 2013)
    Tip Top (Serge Bozon 2013)
    Tonnerre (Guillaume Brac 2013)
    Trap Street (Vivian Qu 2013)
    We Are the Best! (Lucas Moodysson 2013)
    We Come As Friends (Hubert Sauper 2014)
    When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism (Corneliu Porumboiu 2013)
    White Shadow (Noaz Deshe 2013)
    Young and Beautiful (Francois Ozon 2013)
    The Dog (Allison Berg, Frank Keraudren) NYFF 2013 sidebar - saw but did not review


    Click on the logo above for info on the full program, which was announced Tues., 1 April 2014 at a press conference at the Fairmont Hotel in SF. You can download a PDF file of the festival catalog HERE.

    David Thompson will be honored. Richard Linklater will receive the founder's directing award. Opening night film: Hossein Amini’s 'The Two Faces of January' , closing night film: Chris Messina’s Directorial Debut 'Alex of Venice' . Gia Coppola's "Palo Alto," which arrives in theaters May 9, is the fest's centerpiece gala.
    3/26/2014

    From the press release:

    SFIFF 2014 by the Numbers:
    168 Films
    74 Narrative Features
    29 Documentary Features
    65 Shorts
    56 Countries Represented
    40 Languages
    3 World Premieres
    5 North American Premieres
    5 U.S. Premieres
    45 Women Directors
    200 Filmmakers and Industry Guests Expected
    "The SFIFF57 lineup features an unprecedented number of films supported by the San Francisco Film Society's Filmmaker360 program, including Kat Candler's Hellion (SFFS/KRF grant winner: $70,000 for postproduction), Sara Colangelo's Little Accidents (SFFS/KRF grant winner: $50,000 for postproduction), Josef Wladyka's Manos Sucias (two-time SFFS/KRF grant winner: $45,000 for production, $90,000 for postproduction), Gillian Robespierre's Obvious Child (Off the Page screenwriting workshop participant), Jesse Moss' The Overnighters (SFFS project development program) and Michael Tully's Ping Pong Summer (SFFS/KRF grant winner: $50,000 for postproduction)."

    24 or 25 of the lineup are already reviewed here from NYFF 2013, ND/NF 2014, or Rendez-Vous 2014. Also saw The Dog (Allison Berg, Frank Keraudren) (NYFF 2013 sidebar) but did not review.

    New ones I'd like to see:

    Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
    Chinese Puzzle (Cédric Klapisch)
    We Are the Best! (Lucas Moodyson)


    Other possibilities:

    The Dune (Yossi Aviram) theme sounds iffy but looks like it has Nierls Arestrup in it and Jay Weissberg of VARIETY loved it
    Hellion (Kat Candler), troubled teenager, breakout for young actor Josh Wiggins, Sundance hit
    Intruders (Noh Young-seok) Korean, about a screenwriter (Hong Sang-soo-ish?)
    Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt) has a Metacritic 82 though Mike D'Angelo at Toronto was disappointed
    Ping Pong Summer (Michael Tully) because it's set in Ocean City, Maryland.
    Queen Margot, The Director's Cut (1994, Patruce Chéreau) as a homage to the late director
    The Reconstruction (Juan Taraturo) because I like anything set in Patagonia
    The Sacrament (Ti West) about fanaticism, starring Joe Swanberg
    The Skeleton Twins (Craig Johnson) this was praised at Sundance; with Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig
    South Is Nothing (Fabio Mollo) Mafia girl, Italian debut
    The Trip to Italy (Michael Winterbottom) not great reviews, but I like this format with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon
    Yves Saint Laurent (Jalil Lespert) biopic, fallback item, but I like Pierre Niney, who plays Saint Laurent, the youngest actor in the Comédie Francaise, or was

    Also: there are press screenings of Palo Alto (Gia Coppola) and of Last Weekend (Tom Dolby, Tom Williams) back-to-back, so hope to see these.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-28-2014 at 09:12 PM.

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    Back to back distrib rep screenings are offered in a week or so of

    Last Weekend (Tom Dolby)
    Palo Alto (Gib Coppola) (centerpiece film)

    I have The Dune (Yossi Aviram) (actual DVD) and Ping Pong Summer (Vimeo). Were I in NYC I could watch a screening of Chinese Puzzle (Cédric Klapisch) in a couple days. Filmleafers are encouraged to look at the screener list and make recommendations. It is here. Note that I have already seen and reviewed 12 of these on Filmleaf already, narrowing the choice.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-07-2014 at 07:14 PM.

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    Michael Tully: Ping Pong Summer (2014)

    A sweet Ocean City, Maryland summer vacation coming-of-ager set in 1985 that doesn't try anything tricky but succeeds at what it so mildly does. If it has a unique feature it may be making a ping pong match climactic and exciting. Wow! The protag Rad Miracle (Marcello Conte) is certainly eye candy but Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe &Co. are unchallenged. This was a Sundance film that certainly would probably NOT be likely to have made the edgier roster of the FSLC's New Directors/New Films, and it didn't.

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    Cool that David Thompson and Richard Linklater are being honored. I dig them both.
    It's good that you've seen a chunk of these movies already. That must help.

    Ping Pong as exciting? As climactic? Without playing it yourself? That may be impressive.
    Very cool about the grants and supports for post-production. Very nice! Congrats to those films and their makers!
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    This is the area by the way that SFIFF beats the NYFF. The NYFF is prestigious, elite, classy, great watching, but the Film Society of Lincoln Center attracts too many oldsters and not enough young people and does not have all these programs like the San Francisco Film Society and Sundance. Yes David Thompson and Linklater are good choices for people to honor I agree.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-08-2014 at 01:56 AM.

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    Yossi Aviram: The Dune/La dune (2013

    Those Israelis continue to impress. Aviram, a former cinematographer, has produced a delicate, subtle, and exceptionally well acted directorial debut, set mostly in France and in French with an initial segment in Israel and Hebrew and an Israeli tie-in. A tale of paths that cross and connections long lost, this is a study of memory and mood and a bit of a mystery story about an officer of the French bureau of missing persons and a mysterious man found in the country, mute, unsought, with no identification. Distinguished performances by the always superb Niels Arestrup, as the police investigator, with Guy Marchand as his longtime lover, and a strong Lior Ashkenazi as the lost man; it's a pleasure just to see Arestrup and Matthieu Amalric, in a key cameo, in the same room, two of the best French film actors of recent times.

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    Fabio Mollo: South Is Nothing/Il Sud è niente (2013)

    A moody debut feature for Mollo set in the thirty-something Fabio Mollo's native Reggio Calabria, where the Mafia reigns. The story depicts its crushing effect on a small family, with focus on a misfit tomboy called Grazia (Miriam Karlkvist, who got a Euro shooting star award for her committed performance). Her brother has disappeared a few years earlier. Now a local mob boss tells her father he has to sell his fish shop and move north with Grazia. Much tight-lipped brooding follows. Director, cinemagrapher, and much of the crew and some cast members have links with the Centrol Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, and it shows in an air of youth and experimentalism.

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    Claudia Sainte-Luce: The Amazing Catfish/Los insólitos pesces gato (2013)

    Mexican first film about a very lonely and isolated young woman who's adopted into the fatherless family of a dying woman with three daughters and a young son. It won the Youth Prize at Locarno and was included in the Discovery section at Toronto and the cinematography is by Agnès Godard.

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    Juan Taratuto: The Reconstruction/La reconstrucción (2013)

    A craggy, tight-lipped oddball working as a no-nonsense oil field boss in Argentina is called to Ushuaia, the nethermost town in the south of Patagonia, to help a friend with a wife and two daughters, and events slowly take him out of his shell. From the films of Carlos Sorin we've come to know Patagonia as unlikely soil where cinema can bloom. This is also one of those Latin American outback movies where tough macho men come to take a deep look into themselves. Interestingly, Taratuto and his fellow Buenos Aires collaborator and terrific star here Diego Peretti have done a 180° turnaround for this movie, going from the bouncy, talky romantic comedies they formerly did together to serous drama that deals with tragedy and its aftermath, and they do a very fine job of it.

    Another example of macho life and emotional trauma in Patagonia would be Pablo Trapero's BORN AND BRED (2006), in the 2007 SFIFF.

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    Marina Mondon: Bad Hair/Pelo malo (2013)

    From Venezuela comes this complex and well-acted, if draggy, portrait of the fraught relationship between a nine-year-old boy with putative burgeoning homosexual tendencies and his tough young jobless mother in a working-class housing project. It's Caracas in the twilight of Hugo Chavez's presidency, and the teeming city and the bothersome relationships are depicted with documentary realism making use of improvisation rather than a learned script. PELO MALO/BAD HAIR, which debuted at Toronto and has shown at a dozen other festivals and had theatrical releases in France and the UK, doesn't quite work as a film, but it has a lot of good stuff in it, a vivid texture and good scenes. Suggesting it's gay self-discovery is misleading: it's more subtle than that and the sexuality and the hair issues are just several of the various threads.

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    Tom Dolby, Tom Williams: Last Weekend (2014)

    This is just a sketchy opening to my full review due to "hold review" restrictions for this movie about a rich family whose matriarch (played by Patricia Clarkson) has decided to sell their glamorous prewar Lake Tahoe resort house, though she's not saying so so the adult children assembled with her and her husband for Labor Day Weekend, with boyfriends and girlfriends, will have a "summer weekend like all the others." Tom Dolby, son of the late sound/noise reduction system inventor, may have grown up in wealthy circumstances like this. There's gayness -- the youngest son and his new boyfriend get the nicest cuddles, status anxiety -- the older son has just lost his job through a major stock trading fuckup, and there's a lot about real estate, money and status. It's all a little too bland and easily resolved (no Tracy Letts or Eugene O'Neill action here), but I give it credit for at least making one think of Virginia Woolf and Henry James.

    The 2 May screening is the movie's world premiere.

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    Noaz Deshe: White Shadow (2013)

    The overlong yet remarkable saga of an endangered albino boy in Tanzania, one of three countries in Africa where "muti" parts are delivered to witch doctors who sell them for a lot of money for their supposed energizing properties. The film wildly swerves between intense documentary realism and swoony surreal sequences and features several young albino newcomers to the screen who are amazing. A harrowing watch that the Variety critic Guy Lodge writing from Venice, where Berlin- and L.A.-based Israeli first-time director Deshe won the most promising award called this a "staggering debut." Deshe co-scripted, co-lensed, co-composed the score, co-produced and directed. Ryan Gosling was a producer. Also at Sundance.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-04-2014 at 02:04 AM.

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    Gia Coppola: Palo Alto (2013)

    This is just a preview for now pending theatrical release around three weeks from now. I like this new youth film by the third generation Coppola. Gia is the granddaughter of Francis and niece of Sofia. It's adapted from James Franco's book of short stories about confused partying teenagers and messed up adults in his home town in the Peninsula south of San Francisco. A good cast features the sensitive Emma Roberts, the fiery Nat Wolff, subtle laid-back newcomer Jack Kilmer, plus his father Val, James Franco as a predatory girl's soccer coach and Chris Messina as a gay dad who tries to seduce one of the boys. Episodic, but vivid and contemporary, a promising debut by Gia. Franco's production company produced. First shown last August at Telluride, preceding 24 April 2014 at Tribeca, 3 May at the SFIFF, where it is the Centerpiece film. Well reviewed by Variety and Hollywood Reporter. "The best feature film directed by someone named Coppola in a number of years," wrote Todd McCarthy in Hollywood Reporter. Metacritic 74.

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    Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit: Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy ( 2013)

    A Thai film about two teenage girls in their last year at school, the scenario all built around an actual 400+-tweet Twitter feed by a teenage girl. Overt references to Wong Kar-wai, Godard, and the Nouvelle Vague and a somewhat Brechtian, surreal treatment of action and setting. It all sound a bit better on paper than it plays out on screen, but this director has a future in festivals, and there is amusement and charm here. I'd say, Who will ever learn to say his name? But that didn't stop Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

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    Nobuhiro Yahashita: Tamako in Moratorium (2013)

    Japan has slackers too. This little film has been compared to Ozu. It doesn't pack that kind of quiet emotional punch or carry that weight of art, but it is a knowing and kind comment on divided modern Japanese families and the younger generation's difficulty finding a place for itself.

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