Wednesday, May 03, 2006

49th San Francisco International Film Festival - Day 13

We're winding down here, starting with another shorts program entitled 'Domestic Dramas' as they do focus on... well, some of them focus on domestic relationships. Some of them. Of the seven shorts in this program, the scorecard this time is: I LOVED none of them; I LIKED two of them; I tolerated four of them; and slept through one.

The Likes:
"Five Minutes, Mr. Welles" (dir. Vincent D'Onofrio, USA 2005, 30 min.) is probably the most anticipated of the any of the shorts at the festival. Vincent D'Onofrio directed and starred himself as Orson Welles rehearsing the climatic scene from "The Third Man." There is a LOT of behind the scenes gossip and "The Third Man" references to almost require research before seeing this. However, he does a really good job as Welles and there is a nice amount of drama in what little time it has.

"Remain Upright!!" (dir. Kristijan Risteski, Macedonia 2005, 14 min.) It's just a nifty little character study of a man who has a psychotic inner monologue while stressed out in a stalled line. Been there, done that and some of my best friends have too. So, I nearly LOVED this. Nearly.

The Tolerated, for matter of record:
"The Light" (dir. Mark Decena, USA 2005, 11 min.); "Kitchen" (Alice Winocour, France 2005, 15 min.); "Love at 4 pm" (dir. Sebastián Alfie, Spain 2005, 16 min.); and "The Pretty Boy Project" (dir. Karl L. Reid, USA 2005, 15 min.).

I remember seeing the title to "Dazed" (dir. Anne Pinheiro Guimarães, Brazil 2005, 13 min.) but fell asleep and don't remember anything about it.

I then wandered into the documentary "Encounter Point" (dirs. Ronit Avni, Julia Bacha, USA, 2006, 89 mins.), more as a time filler than genuine interest. It focuses on various peace movements in Israel and Palestine. The film is mostly of the 'talking heads' style. However, there are a few observations of meetings, most notably the Bereaved Family Forum, which is a group of 250 Israelis and 250 Palestinians who have lost loved ones to the violence, and have come together as a support group. Actually, the Q&A was almost as lively as the documentary, as one of the directors and one of the activists (Ali Au Awwad, pictured here) were present to discuss it. The audience seemed to be pro-Palestine, or at least anti-Knesset.

And the finale to a short day, "Underground Game" ("Jodo Subterraneo") (dir. Roberto Gervitz, Brazil, 2005, 108 mins.). This starts off with a whalloping stylistic (if not gimmicky) bang! A man follows women he is attracted to on the subways of Sao Paolo, turning it into a bit of cat-and-mouse. That's the first third. The second third dips a bit as he actually dates a few of them, and we are taken out of the subways, which is sort of a bummer. And then the film breaks the style it so cleverly set up in the last third by changing the POV from the man to one of the women he becomes the most interested in. Up to that point, HE has been our focus and in nearly every frame. Then, quite abruptly, we are in the life of one of his obsessions, but without HIM in the scene! It does work as far as the needs of the screenplay are concerned, however to maintain his hero-status, the revelation made in the non-HE scene could have happened in front of him, so we would never lose sight of what is a fairly difficult anti-hero to stick with. Other than that, it has an Almodovar-ian feel to it and is wonderfully photographed and acted. (The lead, Felipe Camargo, reminds me of an old friend in Denver... physically and mentally for that matter.) I really could have loved this had it stuck to its gimmicky guns it set up in the first third of the film.

Tomorrow: Closing night!


Maxxxxx said...

re 'Domestic Dramas': "Mmmmnnnn...Dinner!"
re "Encounter Point": "Don't bite!"
re "Underground Game": "Step up! Step up!"

Heidi said...

That is the gnarliest looking actor/man I have ever seen. Who on earth does he remind you of in Denver?

Jay, the Angry Little Man said...

Oh dear... well, I don't think I can publicly say who now! ;)