Friday, April 16, 2010

San Francisco International Film Festival 53 (SFIFF53) - Opening Night Preview

The 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival (April 22–May 6) will open with Micmacs (France 2009), at 7:00 pm, Thursday, April 22 in the historic Castro Theatre. The Opening Night party will begin at 9:30 pm at the Regency Center. For tickets and information, go to or call 925-866-9559.

I have had the fabulous opportunity to preview the Opening Night Selection for this year's San Francisco International Film Festival: MICMACS (dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France, 2009, 105 minutes). First, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I LOVE Jean-Pierre Jeunet's work! Yes, I even liked ALIEN RESURRECTION! So, I am walking into this with a bias. MICMACS is filled, and arguably overstuffed, with the Goldberg Devices that is Jeunet's trademark. However, unlike his previous work with Jean Caro (AMELIE, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, etc.), the mechanics of his plot are not so cloying. The screening only provided the room of Bay Area critics a few chuckles. MICMACS is not as nihilistic as DELICATESSEN, but is a very dark piece, involving a man's revenge (ably portrayed by Dany Boon), who gathers a group of social outcasts (including the fabulous Dominic Pinon and Yolanda Moreau!) against ballistic arms manufacturers and dealers. The seriousness of the tone of the film feels out of balance with visual 'antics' on screen. Jeunet chose to use a soundtrack featuring the work of Max Steiner's scores for THE BIG SLEEP, TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE' and others. It underscores the film with unusual darkness and melodrama. Without giving away a spoiler, it is not until late into its climax that Jeunet's deadly serious theme is fully revealed. And from that moment, the entire film, in reflection, is more of a dream (or perhaps nightmare?) that he has guided his protagonist through. Once Jeunet reveals his motives, the film explodes into a realism that is almost as dizzying as the fantasies he constructs in the preceding 90 minutes.

As far as an opening night selection is concerned, Jeunet's fantasy drenched visuals, his singularly cinematic style and the considerable weight of the film's thesis, are an appropriate and heady way to launch two weeks of cinema and discussion.

The Opening Night Party has returned to the Regency Ballroom! Yay!! The spacious layout of the Regency pretty much assures a lovely time of grazing and imbibing, without elbow fights for room or long lines!

Maxxxxx says re MICMACS: "Such a pretty bird!"

You can contact Maxxxxx or myself here: JayCBird@AOL.COM

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