Thursday, February 15, 2007

SF IndieFest 2007 - Day 7

Well, it was a strange lot today at the SF IndieFest.

"Yellow" (dir. Nick Peterson, 2006, US, 97 mins.) This is a quirky little movie, bordering on gimmickry. However, this slight musical love story makes up in visual flair, what it lacks in pacing and unsteady performances. Visually, director Nick Peterson has created a world that mixes Jacques Demy and Jacques Tati. The colors are big and bold and some of the physical compositions, as well as the extended use of silent sequences lend the film its frivolous French feel. The performers sing live to a track, which they handle the unconventional lyricism fairly well. It is within the spoken dialogue that the film comes to a SCREECHING HALT. They simply do not pick up their cues. I came to believe that they were over rehearsed for the music and then rushed into the scenes surrounding the numbers. There is one character, who happens to be French, who sounds like he may be delivering the lines phonetically. This is such a shame, as it has such a great look to it! And the screenplay itself has a couple nice twists and turns as our couple work out the parameters of their relationship. But it is just TOO SLOW.

"The Mermaid of the River Plate (La Sirena del Plata)" (dir. Clodomiro Luque, 2007, Argentina, 40 mins.) [no internet reference available] This dark little tale is based on a Charles Bukowski story about a pair of drunk men who steal a dead body, to find that she is gorgeous and they have the best sex of their lives with her, before dumping the body in the River Plate. Yes, well. There ya go! The photography was exceptionally dark and grim, which I guess befits the subject matter. The performances were exceptionally well done, as the two men portrayed a life long familiarity with each other. The corpse was exceptionally beautiful. There are a couple very dark chuckles to be had here. However, it felt incomplete in someway. The two men claimed to have fallen in love with her, but nothing really changes for them out of this bizarre episode, and therefore I as an audience member was not necessarily affected either.

"Un Chant d’Amour" (dir. Jean Genet, France, 1950, 26 mins.) Jean Genet's only film as a director is beautifully shot in silent B&W and incredibly HOT! Genet's homoerotic staging of two prisoners and their guard, both in the prison and in their fantasies, is brilliantly executed. Genet focuses his camera in all fashions of views: from full nudes, to a close up of a flaring nostril. Genet does not use sound in his film, forcing the viewer to completely focus on closeups of faces, armpits, and semi-erect penises. And his ability to control his performers, even in silence, and build up such tension and compassion and eroticism is breathtaking. Considering that the film is 56 years old, the fact that it stands the test of time and is still quite exciting to watch only attests to the genius that was Genet. The print that was screened had the last two reels switched, which was a bit unsettling, however hard to distinguish as Genet's vision is so impressionistic that one could argue that the abrupt ending was correct. Anyway, the film has been available in Region 2 DVD, BUT it is being RE-RELEASED in the U.S.!! Woo hoo!! I can't wait!

"El Doctor" (dir. Suzanne Pitt, Mexico/USA, 2006, 24 mins.) A gorgeously executed animated short about the surreal patients surrounding an alcoholic doctor. Between the outstanding visual style and the plot of surprises, this kept me captivated for its short 24 minutes.

Maxxxxx re "Yellow": "Doobie doobie dooo-ooo"
re "The Mermaid of the River Plate": "ech!"
re "Un Chant d'Amour": "I love you, too!"
re "El Doctor": "Sweet, sweet eye juice!"

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