Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:01 pm 
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San Francisco International Film Festival 2010
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THE SFIFF WILL BE HONORING WALTER SALLES AS WELL AS ROBERT DUVALL AND JAMES SCHAMUS THIS YEAR (ABOVE). AWARDS ARE GOING TO ROGER EBERT AND DON HERZFELDT TOO.

SFIFF 2010 (April 22-May 6)

The festival opening night film was Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Micmacs, which depicts one man's war against weapons manufacturers. The centerpiece film is Josh Radnor's Happythankyouplease, a tale of twentysomethings living in lower Manhattan. The finale will be a showing of the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg), with Ms. Rivers to be honored.

This year though just off the plane yesterday from Paris ( April 22), I don't have a knee injury to keep me from going over to San Francisco and sampling the offerings. I have a head start since I have already seen 19 of SFIFF 53's main slate films. These are:

NEW DIRECTORS

IN COMPETITION FOR NEW DIRECTORS PRIZE:
Night Catches Us
Northless
La Pivellina
Tehroun

OUT OF COMPETITION:
Everyone Else
The Father of My Children
Lebanon

WORLD CINEMA:
Around a Small Mountain
Hadewijch
Making Plans for Lena
Soul Kitchen
To Die Like a Man
White Material
Wild Grass

DOCUMENTARIES:
Last Train Home
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno
Nénette
The Oath
Bill Cunningham New York


This list is, obviously, mixed. It includes a few very fine films, some that film students won't want to miss, and some missteps. Though I was disappointed in Northless and La Pivellina so did not write reviews of them, I very much like The Father of My Children, Hadewiich, Making Plans for Lena and Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno. Lebanon is a celebrated and compelling film, if slightly overrated. The World Cinema items are by major directors and worth seeing, though of varied merit. All those documentaries are watchable, though after To Be and To Have, Nénette is a disappointment. Perhaps the Philibert wanted a subject who would not seek royalties if the film was a big success, as happened with his schoolteacher. Everyone Else recently had a NYC release with some good reviews; it has its tedious aspects but J. Hoberman appreciated it and so, up to a point, did I. But this is a cross-section of how a big festival roster works. You take chances, but you bet on sources that produced well in the past. In both cases sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I'll provide links to my reviews of these and some further comments on the Filmleaf "Festival Coverage" thread.

(My SFIFF 2010 Filmleaf Festival Coverage thread begins here.)

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©Chris Knipp. Blog: http://chrisknipp.blogspot.com/.


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