Wednesday, May 04, 2005

48th SF Intl. Film Festival - Day 13

Yes, I am slowing down as we come to the end of the festival (tomorrow). I only saw 3 out of a possible 5 programs today. Plus received a bit more clarifying dirt regarding Rrrrrrrroxanne(!)'s apparent job hunt, though the source has asked us to keep it low key and under wraps. Well. Too late for that, eh? ;-) Oh, and speaking of 'dirt'...

"The Real Dirt on Farmer John" (dir. Taggart Siegel, USA/Mexico, 2005, 83 mins.) The program description sort of insinuated that this was a documentary about a drag queen farmer. Well, that's not quite accurate. He's a farmer in Illinois who just doesn't always dress the part and 'encourages self expression.' Basically, his farm became something of an artistic commune in the 1970's, to the extreme consternation of his neighbors. However, by the 1990's, the farm had evolved into an "organic Community Supported Agriculture" farm, and is apparently fairly successful in the Chicago area, which is about 100 miles away. In other words, I walked in hoping for 'Sequins and Seed', but actually got organic tomatoes. Even the Q&A, and he was there in a farmer's overall and a pink boa, was dull. It's a pleasant enough little doc, but... well... it's about organic farming. I mean, how exciting is that?! Not very.

"Czech Dream" (dirs. Vit Clusak, Filip Remunda, Czech Republic, 2004, 87 mins.) Ok, so hang in there: This is a documentary about a prank in which a 'Czech hypermarket' is marketed - however, it doesn't exist. Apparently, the filmmakers are actually satirizing the government's campaign to convince the populace to join the EU. And if that doesn't sound droll enough, let's just toss in an hour's worth of footage of meetings with the public relations and marketing firm that was hired to do this faux ad campaign. The idea does have some comic potential, however the directors are taking this just seriously enough as an exercise in political protest, that they drain nearly any humor from what could be a farcical situation. Their dry cynicism just sapped the life out of the documentary, which is sort of their purpose, I guess. It just seems to me that if they had a bit of Michael Moore-like levity, that they would get their point across and gain more audience sympathy and agreement. But then, I don't know what the stakes are for the Czech Republic in joining the EU to begin with, so perhaps it is a serious situation? I dunno... I was just bored and turned off by it all. I needed a comedy:

"Beyond Our Ken" (dir. Pang Ho-Cheung, Hong Kong, 2004, 97 mins.) This was a delicious little revenge comedy involving two women and the man they love. One is his ex, the other his current girlfriend, and he is a womanizer (a Gemini - the WORST kind, I think), who thinks nothing of loving and leaving them, since he is a hunky fireman. The ex decides that the current needs to be informed as to what a pig the guy is. And that forms their alliance to teach him a lesson. But it doesn't stop there... Tonight was its North American Premiere, and it does not appear to have distribution, but I don't want to give away spoilers. It's a delicate little situation and Ho-Cheung was able to create a nice, big farce out of it: chases! some slapstick! even the ever popular and classic 'hide her under the bed' moment! I really enjoyed this and have put it onto my 'must have!' list. And after a fairly fun Q&A, I have included him on my 'what's he done-I want to see more!' short list!

Speaking of a short list, tomorrow is closing day and I am only able to see ONE feature. And even that might not happen... Also, the Golden Gate Awards were announced tonight, so there should be a press release about those and the Audience Favorites tomorrow, too!

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