Just a quick post tonight, but trying to stay true to my comments from yesterday and actually hold myself accountable to blogging.
Remember how I used to go see films a lot? I really suck at that now. Perhaps it’s life, the climate, I don’t know. My interests haven’t shifted. I still love the magic of the movies. And there’s plenty of cinema options for me. I have a goal of seeing 35 films in the theater by next January – and I’m at eight.
Fortunately, I did make it to seven screenings at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival, despite the timing overlapping with a later-than-usual TYPO SF. I’m going to recommend seeing four of those, with a big asterisk on the fourth.
Un Nouvelle Amie (The New Girlfriend)
This French film was the first screening I saw during the fest and probably my favorite in terms of enjoyability. I don’t have any idea why, but I really enjoy trans/queer romantic comedies, from Some Like It Hot to Too Wong Foo to this gem. It’s the right mix of fun and emotional without ever being cheesy. Check it out.
Probably the only film I saw that will get a wider theatrical release, Mr. Holmes tells the story of an elderly Sherlock Holmes and explores the consequences of aging on a once-sharp mind. I’m intrigued to read the book. Some of the “mystery” was a little to predictable to me, but that’s offset by Sir Ian McKellen’s fantastic and sympathetic portrayal the famous detective in his twilight years.
When Animals Dream (Når dyrene drømmer)
I always enjoy films that bring a new twist to a genre and this does just that with werewolf movies. Part horror, part coming of age, part just a quirky Danish film (man, I love the Danes’ weird sense of humor), it’s definitely worth viewing perhaps on a dark, rainy day (or on second thought, maybe not). As a bonus, it had my favorite pick up line of any festival viewing: “I’m turning into a monster and I need to get laid before that happens, can you help me with that?”
The Tribe (Plemya)
Here’s the BIG ASTERISK. You probably DO NOT want to see this film. I have seen all sorts of fucked up movies (see: Von Trier, Lars) and this is hands down the most upsetting film I’ve ever seen. On my bike ride home, I actually had to pull over in the Panhandle and make sure I wasn’t going to throw up. I’ve never had such a visceral and physical reaction to anything on screen before (this make Game of Thrones look like Teletubbies). So that said, 99.9% of the population probably can’t handle it. I can’t handle it. I will never watch this again (which is disappointing because there are a few plot points I’d like to clear up). However, it is a cinematic achievement of the highest degree and quite possibly a masterpiece. Being able to follow a story so intensely without a lick of comprehensible dialog (everything is in Ukrainian Sign Language) or musical score, thus flipping a lot of what I think about film on its head, is a huge testament to the filmmakers. That said, you’ve been warned.