Wednesday, April 26, 2006

49th San Francisco International Film Festival - Day 5

Well, after over doing it yesterday, I started today on the wrong foot by screwing up the only responsibility I had in my 'real life' but arriving at the Kabuki and seeing that the Hot Film Daddy (aka HFD, to those in the know) (aka Graham Leggat, executive director) was standing outside in a fairly smart pin-striped suit chatting away with somebody (not ME?!). This held promises of treats to be in store inside. However, the first 'treat' was a bit stale.

"Illumination" (dir. Pascale Breton, France, 2005, 130 (LONG) minutes) is described in the program as "challenging and elusive." Let's call an orange and orange, shall we? It's long and dull. Yeah, yeah, we get that he is spiritually and emotionally adrift (he works on a fishing boat). Yes, we know he needs to be emotionally cracked open. So, just how LONG are we meant to wait for it? The 'interior landscape' (gawd, how I hate a festival hard sell!) is pretty well drawn for us within the first 20 minutes. Why then are we submitted to another two hours of looking at it? I spent the first half hour trying to remember why I chose to see this. I spent the next half hour waiting for SOMETHING to happen, like maybe he might TAKE A SHOWER! I spent the next forty-five minutes wondering what happened to the chicken. (Don't ask.) I spent the final thirty minutes 'challenging' myself to actually finish it. "Challenging..." Yeah. The only good thing I can find to say about it right now is that I liked the music supervision and score.

Afterwards, I cleansed my palate with a lovely pear salad next door and returned for the Persistance of Vision Award Presentation to director, Guy Maddin. The HFD (whose suit just seemed ill fitting on stage - something about the shirt collar - I can't quite put my finger on it) introduced programmer Linda Blackaby, who in turn introduced and presented the little obelisk to Guy Maddin, who would in turn be 'in conversation' with Steve Seid. Mr. Maddin turns out to be quite the self-effacing wit ("I hope someone might want to ask me some questions after this, as I'm sort of lonely, but needy." [paraphrased]), as well as what it means to be from Winnipeg. During the two hour 'conversation' (which actually was something of a therapy session for Mr. Maddin) numerous shorts were screened: Sombra Dolorosa (2004), The Heart of the World (2001), Odilon Redon or The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity (1995) and (my personal favorite of the night) Sissy Boy Slap Party (1995).
The program concluded with his latest short, "My Dad Is 100 Years Old" (2005) which is Isabella Rossellini's commemoration of her father Roberto's centennial. The program went overtime, but I hardly minded, as he is a fascinating, affable and entertaining guy.

And finally, "Manslaughter" ("Drabet") (dir. Per Fly, Denmark, 2005, 103 mins.). I loved this. It is intensely written and brilliantly performed by Jesper Christensen, who more than reminded me of Peter Finch at his most intense. I don't want to give anything of this away, except that it focuses on the conflict between political ethics and personal passions. It is also stunningly paced. (And I HATE using over worked terms like 'brilliantly' and 'stunningly'!) I was on the edge of my seat. LOVED IT! I can't say it enough!

Tomorrow: Werner Herzog!!


Maxxxxx said...

re "Illumination": "Time for shower!"
re Guy Maddin: Bwahahaha!
re "Manslaughter": "I love you, too!"

Heidi said...

Jasper Christenson looks like Tupper Cullum. And I can't help it. What happened to the chicken?

Jay, the Angry Little Man said...

Sigh. You had to ask.

Our hero is told by a cult leader that he needs to get a chicken, tie a picture of his father around it's neck and then kill it. The problem wasn't that he did this. It was that once he got the chicken, it was nearly 45 minutes before the chicken was back on screen. And it was his father who eventually kills it.


Maya said...

Wasn't "Sissy Boy Slap Party" one of the funniest things you have ever seen in your life???!!! I thought I was gonna split a gut!

Jay, the Angry Little Man said...

I LOVED it! And I MUST find a copy! :)