Sunday, April 30, 2006

49th San Francisco International Film Festival - Day 9

Well, before I launch into a day dominated by death, sex and screaming, I will begin with the gentle matinee program, 'Youth Gone Wild.' This was a program of eleven short subjects created by directors under 21 years old. As a group, they were all mature works and there wasn't a weak flick in the bunch, which was quite impressive! I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite and there wasn't one that I despised. I liked them all. As a matter of record, I will list them with essential details. (P.S. If possible, I'd love to have copies of ANY of these!):Happy Birthday (Justin Reckart, USA 2005, 8 min.); Community Gardens (Jonathan Rosen, USA 2005, 3 min.); The Boat (Alexandra Hontales-Adams, USA 2005 5 min.); Grand Mal (Danny Bailey, USA 2005, 4 min.); Shoes (Jake Sawyer, USA 2005, 13 min.); A Drive Thru Society (Aaron Chiang, Winnie Huang, Sandra Wong, USA 2005, 7 min.); RIP Oakland (Streetside Productions, USA 2005, 9 min.); Expectations (Gilberto Francisco, USA 2005, 9 min.); Slip of the Tongue (Karen Lum, USA 2005, 3 min.); The Signal from Planet Q (Danny Bailey, USA 2005, 2 min.); The Fish (Sarah Blake, USA 2005, 5 min.)

Now, let the morbidity begin.

"The Sun" ("Solntse") (dir Alexander Sokurov, Russia, 2005, 110 mins.) chronicles Emperor Hirohito during the last days of World War II, before meeting with General MacArthur. Issey Ogata plays Hirohito and is incredible! He is in nearly every frame of the film and gives a performance that is so controlled, stylized and filled with character quirks, that he dominates the film, which is saying quite a bit considering Sokurov's intense directorial style. The cinematography is VERY GREY (to the consternation of some viewers), but it is part of the point. Also, Sokurov has a penchant for exceptionally long and still takes (i.e. "Russian Ark"), which would normally work my nerves, were it not for Ogata's magnetic performance. I Loved This!

"Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple" (dir. Stanley Nelson, USA, 2006, 86 mins.) is more than just a rehashing of the Guyana tragedy, but is an examination of the history of the Peoples Temple, as the title implies. Including interviews with survivors and ex-members, as well as members of Congressman Leo Ryan's ill-fated investigative party, the film gives a complete and haunting look at what happened. The final scene is quite eerily done. Also, there were quite of few of the interviewees in the audience, however, I did not have time to stay for the Q&A.

"Brothers of the Head" (dirs. Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, England, 2005, 90 mins.) is the story of a set of conjoined twins who become punk rock stars in the mid-1970's. The film is so seriously composed as a documentary that I was unable to distinguish whether this was true or not! The twins (played by Luke and Harry Treadaway) are fabulous, as is the rest of the cast. There is even a film-within-the-film, as it interviews Ken Russell, as having made a fictional account of the brothers that was never finished (featuring Jonathan Pryce and Jane Horrocks). It completely kept me guessing. The score is quite authentic sounding and actually sort of fun! Also, the Treadaways are quite EASY to look at!

Speaking of "easy to look at," I feel the need to interrupt this little report for not so much of a gossip item, as just an homage to Ted Casablancas. The screening of "Brothers of the Head" had a celebrity audience member who discreetly sat in the back row (across from me tonight, as I was with a friend who prefers that area, also). She of the Snow White skin and bright red 'come-fuck-me-pumps' (per Sue Jean!) was quite INVOLVED with her gentleman companion. At one point, their 'involvement' was so intense that they got up, went around behind their seats at the back of the theater and proceeded to make out as if there were no tomorrow. My friend, not realizing who she was, suggested that they 'get a room.' They worked their way back to their seats, where those 'come-fuck-me-pumps' would eventually end up hanging over the seats in front of them during the Q&A. Quite the spectacle, especially considering that she had just given an hour long speech about CINEMA right before coming in and making out with her boy-toy!

I completed the day with the film that the HFD had promised us at the members preview last month would make us "piss our pants" out of fear! I don't know if anybody actually did wet themselves, but I do know that grown men screamed like little girls!

"The Descent" (dir. Neil Marshall, England, 2005, 99 mins.) features six female spurlunkers and their cave exploration INTO HELL!!!! Did I scream? Did my 6'4" ex-farmboy friend, Jimmy, scream? We ALL screamed! Though it leans a bit heavily as a shocker more than psychological thriller, it doesn't really matter when you're on this rollercoaster into cave dwelling HELL!!! It ROCKED!! Rod Armstrong, the programmer of the Late Night Series, really outdid himself this year, as the three out of the four that I saw were all exceptional!


Maxxxxx said...

re 'Youth Gone Wild': "Ooooo!"
re "The Sun": "Breakfast!" (I don't understand Maxxxxx sometimes.)
re "Jonestown...": "Bless you!"
re "Brothers of the Head": "Such a pretty bird!"
re indiscrete interlude: "I love you, too!"
re "The Descent": "Sweet sweet eye juice!"

JimmyD said...

Did Jimmy scream like a little girl? Indeed he did. He's also glad he caved (ha ha ha ha ha) and picked up 'The Descent' on R2 DVD on the way to the screening. Can't wait to re-watch it with the commentaries!!

I loved 'Brothers' in a completely different fashion. 'The Descent' was about a group of women who go exploring a cave, social unjust and loyalty issues. 'Brothers' feature awesome music and hot conjoined twins who, at one point, make-out. Now... if a filmmaker were to combine those two stories...

Maestas said...

wow, loved the reference to the Great Man. Who was the celeb? Or is this a secret? ;-)

Jay, the Angry Little Man said...

I wouldn't want to be so INDISCREET as to 'out' one of the Festival's Guest Celebrity Speakers as being a TART!

Heidi said...

Who was she? who was she? All I could think of was [deleted]'s fetish of having Pam wear high heel spikes and stick them up his butt during sex.

Anonymous said...

so the state of the cinema is such that it is okay to disrespect a fellow artist and to disrespect the viewers by fucking in the theatre during the screening.
very good choice the sffs made in pciking this years speaker

Jay, the Angry Little Man said...

Well, they weren't actually fucking, however the behavior was about as inappropriate, IMHO. And gawd knows, I am NOT a prude.

I can't speak to how she was in her speech, as I only stayed for her opening remarks (10 minutes).

Isaiah said...

The Fish can be seen here:

It's the third one down.