Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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The SF Film Society's Fifth San Francisco International Animation Festival
November 11-14, 2010


I will be reviewing some of these. Following are the SFFS festival blurbs.

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Here Come the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized
Peter Sluszka, Julia Pott, Guilherme Marcondes, Santa Maria (USA/England 2009)
Director Guilherme Marcondes in person
One of the most acclaimed albums of 2009, the Decemberists’ The Hazards of Love is an epic song cycle that the band has played to sold-out audiences all over the world. Inspired by the album’s heft and range, four animators with widely different approaches have created original films that visualize the album in its entirety. Each work in this four-part series bears a unique aesthetic approach to the material and, like the album itself, communicates the joys and sorrows of being open to the world. Each psychedelic section, with techniques ranging from stop motion to CGI to hand-drawn illustration, seamlessly and breathlessly explores themes of beauty, angst and foreboding. The highly conceptual film, as noted in Variety, “is the kind of project that could easily collapse under the weight of its pretensions. But, it succeeds, brilliantly.”(60 min, Hornet Flux Inc., Capitol Records)
Thursday, November 11, 9:00–11:00 pm
La Mar Cebichería Peruana, Pier 1½, Embarcadero Embarcadero Center Cinema

Jackboots on Whitehall
Edward McHenry, Rory McHenry (England 2010)
Some questions just need to be posed: Does God exist? Are we alone in the universe? Will Lindsay Lohan ever pass a drug test? Yes, these are the conundrums that puzzle mankind. Still, perhaps no query is more urgent than this one: What would have transpired if the Nazis had invaded England and occupied Buckingham Palace? Fortunately, this audacious puppet farce—made in glorious Panzervision—has arrived to satisfy our burning curiosity. Puppet incarnations of towering figures from the WWII era—Himmler, Goering, Goebbels, Churchill and, oh yes, Hitler—are all on hand to lend this highly imaginative film an air of authenticity. Voiced by notables such as Ewan McGregor, Alan Cumming, Richard E. Grant and Tom Wilkinson and employing a painstaking fusion of puppetry and CGI, Jackboots on Whitehall goes a very long way to make a very absurd statement, and we are all the better for it. North American premiere. Written by Edward McHenry, Rory McHenry. Photographed by Michael Connor. With Ewan McGregor, Tom Wilkinson, Alan Cumming, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant. (78 min, Media 8 Entertainment)
Thursday, November 11, 9:30 pm
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


The Best of Annecy
The Annecy International Animated Film Festival is widely regarded as the most important festival for animation in Europe. SFIAF is pleased to once again present a selection of the best shorts to have appeared in Annecy this year. (TRT 69 min)
Angry Man Some secrets should remain secret (Anita Killi, Norway 2009, 20 min).
Don’t Go You can’t see everything, like a cat’s best friends for instance (Turgut Akacik, Turkey 2010, 4 min).
I Forgive You Two wrestlers have a fight and forgive themselves (Pierre Mousquet, Jérôme Cauwe, Belgium 2009, 5 min).
Jean-François Jean-François is a swimming champion nostalgic for his seaside childhood (Tom Haugomat, Bruno Mangyoku, France 2009, 6 min).
Lebensader A girl finds the entire world in a leaf (Angela Steffen, Germany 2009, 6 min).
The Lost Thing Bring a strange creature home from the beach and see if anybody notices (Andrew Ruhemann, Shaun Tan, Australia 2010, 16 min).
Love & Theft "And I’m still carrying the gift you gave, it’s a part of me now, it’s been cherished and saved, it’ll be with me unto the grave, and then unto eternity" (Andreas Hykade, Germany 2009, 7 min).
Friday, November 12, 7:00 pm & Sunday, November 14, 12:45 pm
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


Johnny Ray and Skye: Channel Drift
Luminaries, artists, men about town. Johnny Ray Huston and Skye Thorstenson are two creative thinkers and personalities that help to make San Francisco a wonderful place to live. They also love animation in its many different guises. While this collection barely treads the surface of their myriad interests in the genre, it is still guaranteed to blow your mind. Bringing us experimental work and narratives, fine art and commercials, content culled from the vast reaches of the Web and some 35mm gems, this is a truly fun and eclectic program that has its share of beauty and head-scratchers. Alien abduction, Second Life, particle physics, cat food and salsa are just a few of the bases that will be covered. [Eighteen short films] (TRT 85 min)
Friday, November 12, 9:00 pm
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


Mai Mai Miracle
A story about two girls on the cusp of adolescence, Mai Mai Miracle delicately captures the charmed and strange wonder that accompanies one’s transition into adulthood. A protégé of Hayao Miyazaki and assistant director on Kiki’s Delivery Service, Sunao Katabuchi strongly echoes his mentor in this finely crafted anime. Third grader, Mai Mai passes time in her small town daydreaming about the world a thousand years before. She has an imaginary friend there—Nagiko—who introduces her to a simple daily life. When a shy newcomer named Kiiko arrives in Mai Mai’s town and joins her class, Mai Mai tries in vain to befriend her. Eventually, Mai Mai is able to break through Kiiko’s shell, and the pair set off on a number of adventures, one that may even transport them back in time to help Mai Mai’s friend Nagiko. Recommended for ages eight and up. Written by Sunao Kutabuchi. Photographed by Yukihiro Masumoto. With Mayuko Fukuda, Nako Mizusawa, Ei Morisako, Manami Honjo. (95 min, Shochiku Co., Ltd.)
Saturday, November 13, 12:00 pm
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


Good Night and Good Luck
These [nine] shorts are real and imagined journeys—inward, outward, some funny, some painful, all animated. Go your own way. In fact, you must. (TRT 80 min). Films from Canada, Hungary, Germany, Brazil, the USA, India, and Iceland.
Saturday, November 13, 4:30 pm
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


Semiconductor: Forward Looking Back
Exploring their nearly 15-year-long collaboration, this program presents both a retrospective and a glimpse of the current and future projects of one of the most fascinating duos in the world of animation: Semicondutor. Comprised of artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, Semiconductor has has long been innovating the field of live cinema with their uses of specially developed algorithms, transposition of sound into image and innovations in virtual camera use. The common thread that runs through all of their work—whether moving image or sound and multimedia installations—is an extended examination of the material nature of our world and an investigation into how we experience it. Semiconductor’s ongoing fascination with science has led them to participate in research fellowships with such organizations as the Gulbenkian Galapagos, Smithsonian Artists Research and NASA Space Sciences. This wide-ranging program offers works selected from Semiconductor’s long collaboration, including films born from their residencies, live cinema performance and new initiatives in their ongoing quest to visualize science.
Saturday, November 13, 7:20 pm
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


Play It By Eye
Each year, SFIAF presents a program of recent animated music videos. This time around there is a special focus on a phenomenon so confusing we decided to keep it secret. A hint: F-ing magnets. How do they work? (TRT 68 min)
Chairlift: Evident Utensil (Ray Tintori, USA 2010, 4 min)
Darwin Deez: Radar Detector (Ace Norton, England 2010, 4 min)
Das Racist: Who’s That? Brooown!(Thomas de Napoli, USA 2010, 4 min)
Gorillaz: Stylo (Jamie Hewlett, Pete Candeland, England 2010, 5 min)
The Gossip: Pop Goes the World (Philip Andelman, USA 2010, 4 min)
Grizzly Bear: Two Weeks (Patrick Daughters, The Mill LA, USA 2009, 5 min)
Knalpot: Casio Halbzeit (Martha Colburn, USA 2009, 4 min)
Myles Cooper: Gonna Find Boyfriends Today (Skye Thorstensen, USA 2010, 4 min)
Paul Oakenfold: Starry Eyed Surprise (Honey, England 2006, 4 min)
Rage Against the Machine: Guerrilla Radio (Honey, USA, 4 min)
Mark Ronson: Bang, Bang, Bang (Warren Fu, England 2010, 6 min)
Saturday, November 13, 9:45 pm
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


Near and Far... and Animals
Suitable for adults and children alike, this shorts program probes some of the consequences of being near . . . or far. From humor to sadness to wonder, with plenty of animals. (TRT 64 min)
Cours Toujours Wicked scooter riding and music! (Olivier Barré, Elise Garcette, France 2010, 2 min).
Dyslexia A decaying alphabet gives way to one monosyllabic word: No (Gabriele Gianni, Italy 2009, 5 min).
The Gruffalo The tale of a plucky mouse who must use his wits to foil three dangerous predators: a fox, an owl and a snake (Jakob Schuh, Max Lang, France 2009, 27 min).
Komaneko’s Christmas "A Lost Present" Koma’s parent won’t be home for Christmas, spurring a barrage of confusing emotions (Tsuneo Goda, Japan 2009, 20 min).
The Legend of Geb and Nut The story of the earth falling in love with the sky (Laura Ratta, England 2010, 3 min).
Mobile At the edge of society, a cow tips the balance of destiny with some serious impact. Moo! (Verena Fels, Germany 2010, 7 min
Sunday, November 14, 11:00 am
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then
Brent Green (USA 2009)
Director Brent Green in person
From the unlikeliest of true stories comes this staggering, emotional achievement by Brent Green. Leonard tried to save the love of his life from cancer by building a home that stretched toward the heavens. If only he could reach God, he thought, then surely he could cure his wife’s illness. In homage to Leonard, director Brent Green rebuilt the home to scale in his own backyard and employed it as a set for the creation of this singular live action/animation hybrid film. Green recounts the love story as an ode to Leonard himself and as an inquiry into the source of faith, hope and redemption. While Green pays homage to Leonard’s hopeful quest, his ultimate reverence is reserved for the visionary art that Leonard left behind.
Sunday, November 14, 2:30 pm
Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema


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


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