Sunday, April 23, 2006

49th San Francisco International Film Festival - Day 2

Slowly, but surely we're revving up here! (I say that as I did skip the first two available matinees today.)

"Obaba" (dir. Montxo Armendáriz, Spain, 2005, 107 mins.) is a quirky little character study of an entire town, as seen through a student's (though the program notes say she is a young teacher) video assignment. The people of this little town reveal a history of mysteries, scandals, murder, insanity and heartbreak. It was sort of like watching a really good Stephen King novel, as it was quite episodic and had a darkness associated with the stories. The photography is quite striking, there were no bad performances and the cast was predominately beautiful to look at. All in all, a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon, though it is quite likely that I will forget I saw it by the end of the festival. However, I will not forget:

"Al Franken: God Spoke" (dirs. Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus, USA, 2006, 90 mins.), quite briefly, a documentary about Al Franken's activism during the 2004 Presidential campaign, from the people who brought us "The War Room" and "Elaine Stritch, at Liberty" amongst a long and diverse number of titles. Yes, it is funny and angry and frustrating and loving and, in the end, just a bit heartbreaking. I find it difficult to watch political documentaries anymore, as just the image of the smirking zealot, er, I mean President Bush, makes me cringe. However, seeing how invested Al Franken is, not so much in revitalizing the left as in revealing the hypocrisy and vileness of the far right, does give one some hope. Our esteemed Executive Director, Graham Leggat (I have yet to come up with a suitable pet name for him) introduced the directors for a Q&A. I have not been much of a fan of these things, as the questions can be pretty mundane and sometimes border on embarrassing. This Q&A didn't reveal much. I had bigger hopes for the next guest, however.

Matt Dillon is fucking hot. There. I got that out of my system.

"Factotum" (dir. Bent Hamer, Norway, 2005, 93 mins.) was based upon the writings of Charles Bukowski, with Matt Dillon playing the Bukowski role/alter-ego. Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei play his lovers, and even Fisher Stevens pops up in this briefly as his horsetrack friend. (Stevens really needs to eat something, though!) Dillon and Taylor prove to be the best combination in the mix. You can see how he relies on Taylor to support him through some unusually long takes, as well as her absurd sense of comic timing. Dillon does a pretty good job with some of these very dark punchlines as well. Also, this is possibly the first time I have actually appreciated Ms. Tomei. The film overall is not as dark as "Barfly" but it is seedier to look at. The production design as well as the costume and makeup designs for Dillon and Taylor are pretty grim. But even though the film broke towards the last third of the screening, I still thoroughly enjoyed this! It was followed by a Q&A, also.

Mr. Leggat, aka our Hot Film Daddy (yes, I think I like that) introduced Matt Dillon (have I mentioned he is fucking hot?) for a brief Q&A. I'm not sure what they talked about as my mind drifted to a scenario where our HFD and Dillon leave the theater together, headed to Dillon's hotel. There is a bottle of Barbera awaiting them. Our HFD peels off his Armani and Dillon disrobes his Hugo Boss and they... well, the rest of it is something out of Falcon Video. Which oddly enough sort of leads in to the Late Night selection:

"The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai" (dir. Mitsuru Meike, Japan, 2004, 90 mins.). This is a 'Japanese pink film'. In other words, it is soft core porn. But this one has a twist, or is simply twisted depending on your frame of mind. Let's just say that any film featuring the cloned finger of President Bush being used as a dildo is a film for me! I and a half dozen other people in this nearly sold out crowd, laughed VERY hard throughout this totally off the wall flick. I LOVED IT. It makes a great midnight movie!

Tomorrow: all day at the Castro, featuring the Alloy Orchestra! woo hoo!!


Maxxxxx said...

re "Obaba": "Such a pretty bird!"
re "Al Franken: God Spoke": "
re "Factotum": "Time for shower!"
re "The Glamorous Life...": "Sweet sweet eye juice!" (I dunno either...)

Stephen said...

Matt Dillon was THERE? OMG.

Nicola said...

I can't believe Matt Dillon came to the Festival & nobody told me!!! Thank god for your daily outakes!!! Must get some sleep before the newest one wakes up again. Until tomorrow......

hal said...

Yeah, I saw Matt Dillon too at that screening and at the Q&A afterwards. Hmm, yum. The man is on the cover of Details magazine this month. You see a rear shot of his ass in the film, but I'm starting to think it was a body double, as I saw one credited. And he looked like he had gained some weight in the film, but fortunately, has lost it again in real life. :) I should've been bolder and called out to him to ask for an autograph when he outside in front of his town car... Sigh, hopefully they'll bring him back in a few years for a fete with VIP action, and then I can just pay to meet him, instead of them whisking him away.