Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: SFFILM: San Francisco Film Festival 2019

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,275

    SFFILM: San Francisco Film Festival 2019

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-21-2019 at 11:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,275

    ASAKO i & II/寝ても覚めても (Ryusuke Hamaguchi 2018)

    RYUSUKE HAMAGUCHI: ASAKO I & II/寝ても覚めても NETEMO SANTEMO ("At all hours") (2018)

    (Originally published for the New York Film Festival, 2018.)


    ERIKA KARATA AND MASAHIRO HIGASHIDE IN ASAKO I & II

    Wavering

    The director had made seven features and documentaries since 2007 when his five-hour Happy Hour (ND/DF 2016) three years ago gained him international attention, and that helped him jump right into Competition at Cannes with his new film, Asako I & II. Adapted from a novel of the same title by Tomoka Shibasaki, it's about about a young woman torn between two identical-looking young men, one rakish and wild, the other reliable and conventional. The contrast is itself a very conventional one. A similar theme was treated (in a sexier, more provocative way) last year by François Ozon in Double Lover. Ozon was playing to a grownup taste in thrillers and S&M. Depending on how you look at it, Hamaguchi's take is delicate and mysterious, or bland YA rom-com stuff.

    There is fun in observing the game either way, Ozon's way or Hamaguchi's way, of a woman being pleased or tormented by an attractive man. In Ozon's case it's the elegant former model Marine Vacth and the seasoned Belgian actor Jérémie Renier, who got his start with the Dardenne brothers. In Hamaguchi's, it's the tall, thin, delicately handsome Masahiro Higashide, who plays both the sexy, undependable Baku of Osaka and the conventional, reliable, less exciting Ryohei.

    It's fun to admire Higashide's looks in both roles, and the two performances are in more subtle shades of difference than those imposed on Jérémie Renier by Ozon. Not that Higashide doesn't look quite unlike Baku when he turns up as Ryohei. Baku has a wild mop of hair and bohemian attire of jeans and flip flops; also, according to Maggie Lee's Variety review, as Baku he speaks in a broad Osaka dialect (they meet there; she meets Ryohei in Tokoyo). Ryohei is a young salaryman (he works for a brewery) in standard suit and tie uniform. The different look makes all the difference. The actor does a good job with it.

    The trouble is that Asako, as played by Erika Karata, is the same passive, doll-like young thing with both men, and her indecision, which Lee calls "banal," just seems silliness, or very poor judgment. If only she were in the grip of something complex and compelling; but she doesn't seem to be. A less recognized unwisdom, we might say, is that of Ryohei, who gathers early on that Asako's attracted to him because of his resemblance to another guy, but goes on despite this to fall in love with her. We may want to forgive him because he's basically a a decent and reliable chap. But Asako isn't the only foolish one.

    We don't really see much of Baku - he isn't around for that long - and some audience members, seduced by his attractiveness, may find him dreamy, as Asako does, but he can easily be seen as a narcissistic doofus - which his later reappearance turned into a supermodel does nothing to dispel. Asako's friends warn her right off that he's an unreliable seducer. The trouble is telegraphed to us right away when he goes out for bread and doesn't come back till the next day.

    Nonetheless they fall in lust, with heavy kissing, even after they've crashed a motorcycle and are lying sprawled on the highway. Months later, the affair ends when he goes out to buy shoes (to replace those flip flops, no doubt) and disappears. She's so devastated she moves from Osaka to Tokyo. With Ryohei, it really lasts, Asako sets up domestic life in an apartment overlooking a river, and they're together that way for five years. But her "thing" for Baku never goes away, it turns out.

    As in Happy Hour, what's interesting is the ensemble scenes, when Asako is with friends, or friends of friends. There's a notable exchange - also maybe a sign of Hamagushi's tendency to go off on a tangent - when Ryohei brings Kushihashi (Kôji Seto), a work associate, to Asako's to meet her best friend Maya (Rio Yamashita), who is an actress. Kushihashi (turning out to be a frustrated actor himself) launches into a vehement, pointedly rude attack on her acting style, which he then abjectly apologizes for. Hamaguchi interpolates a sequence of the massive 2011 Japan earthquake (not in the novel; but he made a 2012 documentary about it, The Sound of Waves). These surprises add interest, as do the secondary characters.

    But the film keeps coming back to the conventional contrast between the two men and Asako's immature behavior. Stephen Dalton in his Hollywood Reporter review calls her an "annoying airhead" who "would not pass even a basic Bechdel Test." That is to say, all she ever talks to other women about is men. Anyway - and this criticism applies to Ozon's Double Lover - the whole story hinges on a fantastic conceit and the focus becomes the conceit - or how Masahiro Hirashige plays the two contrasting roles - rather than on human relations. The kind of keen, specific observation we got in Happy Hour is too often missing here. Let's hope Hamaguchi will go on to better justify his new international recognition.

    Asako I & II/寝ても覚めても NETEMO SANTEMO ("waking or sleeping"), 119 mins., debuted in competition at Cannes; eight other international festivals including Taipei, Toronto, Vancouver, and the New York Film Festival, where it was screened for this review 7 Oct. 2018. Metascore 62.

    Now showing in the San Francisco Film Festival.
    SFFILM showtimes:
    Sat, Apr 13 at 3:30 pm Creativity Theater
    EVENT HAS PASSED
    Wed, Apr 17 at 8:30 pm YBCA
    Tue, Apr 23 at 3:30 pm Victoria Theatre
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-15-2019 at 07:00 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,275

    ASK DR. RUTH (Ryan White 2019)


    DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER IN ASK DR. RUTH

    (Published on Filmleaf earlier)

    BRYAN WHITE: ASK DR. RUTH (2019)

    Everybody knows about Dr. (Ed.D.) Ruth Westheimer, this tiny (4 feet six inches) popular media figure, I guess, but I knew little and was glad to be informed. This gives her whole story, her escape from the Holocaust via a Swiss orphanage, but loss of both loving parents. Her time in Israel on a kibbutz, studying psychology at the Sorbonne, emigrating to the US, working as a housekeeper, three husbands, two children, multiple grandchildren, Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her whirlwind media career began in 1980 on WYNY where they hid her away at midnight on Sundays. She was a pioneer in sex education, and her good humor, positivity, very idiomatic English but heavy German accent, her outspokenness made her irresistible. As I hate Elizabeth Holmes of Teranos, as I am ambivalent about Toni Morrison, I LOVE Dr. Ruth. She comes across to me as an adorable and good person. Amazingly, she is now 90, and the film ends with her birthday celebration. Debuted at Sundance, also (like Toni Morrison) Magnolia, to be released theatrically 3 May and on Hulu 1 June. Watched on a screener Mar 24-25, 2019.

    Now showing in the San Francisco Film Festival.
    San Francisco Film Festival showtime:
    Sun, Apr 21 at 3:00 pm Castro Theatre
    To be released theatrically 3 May and on Hulu 1 June.


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-15-2019 at 07:02 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,275

    THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE (Clara van Gool 2019)

    CLARA VAN GOOL: THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE (2019)


    DANE HURST AND SARAH REYNOLDS IN THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE

    A version of the Henry James novella by a Dutch director who interprets it as a dance film

    This film presumably relates to last year's Vineyard Theater production, unless great minds just think alike. Both are free versions of Henry James's novella about a man who thinks himself destined for some great thing, who proves more successful in business than love, and has recurrent encounters with a woman over a long span of time. The New York stage version, by director-choreographer Susan Stroman, composer John Kander and writer David Thompson had lots more characters and a richer plot. The Dutch Clara van Gool’s film is stingy with the dancing at first, and stingy with other characters throughout. From current evidence, and what reviews say, neither of these efforts was really successful.

    The film is beautiful and haunting. It's also repetitious, intentionally so. The same refrains are repeated over and over. There is a circular effect. This man and this woman (Sarah Reynolds and Dane Jeremy Hurst) literally are dancing around each other - whether in turn-of-the-century clothing, dressed for WWI, or dancing the Twist. I liked seeing the pretty young gentleman and severe, dancerly woman in old-fashioned dress; the English country estate; the beautiful Italian places; the handsome cars are handsomely photographed, often in a dim, haunting light. But over time one wearies of the mixture of dialogue with dance, without the dialogue's counteracting the essential abstractness or impressionism of dance. And in the weird repetitious dialogue and inexplicable shifts of place this becomes Henry James meets Last Year at Marientbad.

    Given its Dutch creative origin and its oddity, the film's s Rotterdam premiere was doubly logical. It came my way as part of the San Francisco Film Festival. Juno Films will premiere the film in New York later in 2019 and is planning a rollout to theaters across the US. Prepare yourself for aesthetic pleasure, extended a little beyond the allowable attention span. If you crave a look for an experimental use of classical dance in a beautiful film setting, this may interest you. Warning: this is more like an art piece than a conventional film. Logically, it shows at a museum.

    The Beast in the Jungle, 87 mins., debuted at Rotterdam; also showed at Göteborg. Opened in the Netherlands 14 Mar. 2019.

    SFFILM showtimes:
    Tue, Apr 16 at 6:00 pm SFMOMA
    Wed, Apr 17 at 8:45 pm Creativity Theater
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-10-2019 at 12:08 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,275

    Belmonte (Federico Veiroj 2018)

    FEDERICO VEILOJ: BELMONTE (2018)


    GONZALO DELGADO AND OLIVIA MOLINARO EIJO IN BELMONTE

    Portrait of fatherhood in crisis, and the strength of a child

    I reviewed Veiloj's 2010 A Useful Life first, at San Francisco. His 2015 [I]The Apostate [/I]came my way via New Directors. On the second go I concluded this director's aim is "to make minorness interesting, and somehow significant." He also likes to star people he knows, who aren't really actors. Let's note how Jonathan Holland defines what's new in this third film in his Hollywood Reporter review. It has "greater emotional range," "also less playful, more austere and generally more forbidding.". As a common thread, though, one might mention (Holland again) his "engagingly fastidious and quirky directorial style. That's key to the aim I see of making minorness interesting, and somehow significant.

    Belmonte (Gonzalo Delgado) is tall, like Veiroj himself and his other friend-actor-protagonists, with a serious, Latin, European face, handsome in a pleasingly worn way, weary eyes, lined brow, swaths of brown hair, effortlessly, casually stylish in jeans and shirt and aged leather jacket. He's an artist (as is Delgado in real life, and the work really his own, which I, as an artist, find unusual and quite a good thing). His artwork is doing alright, apparently. He sells two of his big paintings, male nudes, bought by a husband for his wife (Cecilia Jeske), who comes on to him when he delivers them. He withdraws. He has a smart and beautiful daughter, Celeste (Olivia Molinaro Eijo), a schoolgirl, he'd like to spend more time with but his estranged wife Jeanne (Jeannette Sauktesliskis), a scholarly-looking printer, won't let him. His parents own one of those pleasing anachronisms Veiroj likes, a refrigerated storage for fur coats, and they keep visiting it though they're supposed to be retired and leave it alone. The setting, Uruguay in the first film, Madrid in the second, now is back in Montevideo, Uruguay, but Belmonte has a show coming also in Buenos Aires.

    His artwork is figurative, and how: big fleshy semi-classical figures, mostly outlines, sometimes reminiscent of William Blake, tormented, a touch of Cy Twombly. Half way through, the crack appears in Belmonte's world halfway through the movie when, in the middle of the night, Celeste cries and demands to be taken back to her mother, who is pregnant with a boy, soon to be born. His world is incomplete. He's moody, unhappy, is seen mooning among an artfully arranged group outdoors listening to a singer of a sad song by (Leo Masliah). A beautiful young pianist at a concert hall (Giselle Motta) discreetly but oh-so-attractively throws herself at Belmonte, as did the wealthy older woman. All this not very fashionable right now, but Veiroj certainly does not try to be trendy. Belmonte has only a little to give the pianist, and protests to friends that he wants and needs no further relationship. Is he self-sufficient, or merely unable to function outside his work? In the end, when his wife's new child is born, he goes off to see the boy (named by Celeste Eusebio), carrying a large painting: his art is all he has to give.

    This fourth feature (I missed Acné , the first) is more elegant and sad and less quaint. It has a loose, casual style that shows confidence. But by the same token it's less resolved: this hero both idealized and shapeless. The European-style elegance makes it enjoyable perhaps for a cinephile (or festival-goer) to watch, but less likely to be remembered. But I can't guarantee I won't recall this real artist doing his real art, this stylish film with its nice songs and color-drenched images that Screen Daily's Jonathan Romney notes (Belmonte's show catalog cover's red will knock your eye out) and compares to Vittorio Storaro.

    Belmonte, 75 mins., debuted at Toronto, with eight other international festivals listed on IMDb including San Sebastián, Zurich, Montevideo, Mar del Plata, Rotterdam, Göteborg and the Neighboring Scenes festival at Lincoln Center. Also now coming in SFFILM's San Francisco Film Festival, as part of which it was screened for this review.

    SFFILM showtimes:
    Sun, Apr 14 at 8:00 pm Creativity Theater
    Tue, Apr 16 at 6:15 pm YBCA
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-09-2019 at 11:47 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,275

    THE CHAMBERMAID/LA CAMARISTA (Lila Avilés: 2018)

    LILA AVILÉS: THE CHAMBERMAID/LA CAMARISTA (2018)

    [PREVIEW ONLY]


    GABRIELA CARTOL IN THE CHAMBERMAID

    A look at the working environment of a chambermaid in one of Mexico City's most luxurious hotels can be a counterpart to Cuaron's "Roma"

    In her feature debut, theater director Lila Avilés turns the monotonous work day of Eve (Gabriela Cartol), a chambermaid at a high-end Mexico City hotel, into a beautifully observed film of rich detail. Set entirely in this alienating environment, with extended scenes taking place in the guest rooms, hallways, and cleaning facilities, this minimalist yet sumptuous movie brings to the fore Eve’s hopes, dreams, and desires. As with Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA, set in the same city, The Chambermaid salutes the invisible women caretakers who are the hard-working backbone of society. A Kino Lorber release.
    -NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS festival listing. Jonathan Romney's Screen Daily review points out "Eve seems to be suspended in an eternal daytime present, as if she never actually leaves the premises." A slowly immersive film that leads you into quiet desperation (self submerged by routine, hope suppressed by low status) and, perhaps , back out the other side.

    The Chambermaid/La camarista, 105 mins., debuted at Toronto; half a dozen other festivals including New Directors/New Films and San Francisco, screened as part of the latter, where it received the GGA New Directors Award with a $10,000 cash prize.

    SFFILM showtimes:
    Fri, Apr 19 at 6:00 pm Roxie Theater
    Sun, Apr 21 at 3:15 pm Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-22-2019 at 01:35 PM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •