Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Frameline 34 (SF Intl. LGBT Film Festival) - Day 5

This year’s internationally renowned showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cinema runs June 17-27, with San Francisco screenings at the historic Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street), Roxie Theater (3117 16th Street) and the Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street), and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (2966 College Avenue).Tickets for Frameline34 are on sale  through

Off World (dir. Mateo Guez, Canada/Philippines, 2009, 76 Mins.) This is set in the Smoky Mountain slums of Manila, where the poverty is so overwhelming, as to be surreal. Or at least it appears so in Mateo Guez's beautifully photographed film about a man searching for his birth family. It is shot in widescreen, and I will assume on RED, as the color manipulation is so drastic at times as to be distracting. However, as Guez has nearly no script, it would be assumed that this is something of a poem, not unlike the QATSI trilogy in style. Very little actually happens, though there is a narration to tell us the why and what there is. I would have preferred no narration at all and let the images go past in an even dreamier haze. The performances by the supporting cast, in particular those of the brother and mother, are quite remarkable given how little they have to work with.  The soundtrack by Byron Kent Wong is suitable ethereal and droning as our protagonist processes what his life might have been.  Perhaps not one of the most salacious entries in this year's festival, it is oddly, one of the most beautiful.

New York Memories (dir. Rosa Von Praunheim, Germany, 2010, 89 Mins.) Director Rosa Von Praunheim revisits New York City, spotlighting the changes that occurred to the people he interviewed, as well as the city itself, in SURVIVAL IN NEW YORK, 25 years ago.  Von Praunheim is not so much a photojournalist, as he is a diarist. It is a series of voices, nearly unrelentingly describing their lives and world and how much it has changed for them. His editing is so tight that it can become a dizzying cacophony of memories, which may be his intent.  Personally, I found it took a lot of energy to stay engaged with the rapid fire banter on the soundtrack, while there was fairly little to actually see.

Maxxxxx says re OFF WORLD:  "Woooo..."

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

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