jadis composee par l'abstracteur de quinte essence

Beuveurs tresillustres, & vous Verolés tresprecieux (car à vous, non à autres sont dédiés mes escriptz)


i figured i'd spare myself some trouble if i gave up on early screenings after work, but it was still a mess trying to make it from milpitas to san francisco by nine. maybe if i'd managed a couple weeks off before the festival, i might have been up to dealing with it.

too bad they can't bring back peter scarlet and rachael rosen. i don't mind the new programmers, but the energy's a bit thin, and i'm not bringing as much as i'd like.

i saw a lot less than usual. i didn't take any days off, skipped the opening and closing nights, and i took time off on the weekends. i stayed away from that buzz where i start wondering which film was which and where am i, am i ever going home.

friday, april 18
man without a past (2002) aki kaurismaki
ok, this is in theaters as i'm writing this, but i did like match factory girl and and ariel a lot, and i kept seeing stuff about this in cahiers du cinema, which i can read, but rarely have much idea what it is they're saying. it was also late enough, not sold out, so i could bring a date, and i didn't like it much. it's pretty. i loved the faces, the scene in the bank, bedding down to 60's dance music, but the dog? the plot? the cute quirky characters? oh well.
sunday, april 20
the decay of fiction (2002) pat o'neill
with pat o'neill
this was one of my favorites. the ambassador hotel where he shot all the settings is amazing, with ballrooms all gorgeous and appointed for use as film sets, guest rooms plagued by water damage, peeling paint, mildew, whatever.
this film has ghosts performing scenes from old pulp movies wandering through the halls of the abandoned building to the music of old public-domain soundtracks. i was really up for the nostalgia trip, but not as excited about the tumbling nude, the 'personal' parts. i did like all the naked people with masks running around at the end.
mostly i liked the pace of this movie, and the many unrelated stories.
the century of the self, parts 1 and 2 (2003) adam curtis
this kind of sucked. the room was hot, the video was mostly stock footage of people walking in groups from the forties and fifties. the interviewed were mostly dull, and slightly bitter about the famous people they used to know. i stuck around because i think the story was important, and i learned a few things, but ugh. this was made for tv, and i think i would have turned back to celebrity boxing. did this really open with reverse video of a palace foyer in vienna?
madame sata (2001) karim ainouz
with the director
we made a mistake, and sat in the front row. this one was filmed with handheld cameras in a lot of tight spaces. lots of saturated colors, and bleached whites.
this is another one that will be out soon. no particular reason to go now if i'd checked, but i didn't. i thought it was going to be a documentary. i did like it, what i could catch of it from so close. everybody was fancy. the director had a lot to say.
monday, april 21
the good old naughty days (2002)
this was some archive work from france with porn reels from 1905 through the thirties.
the screening was packed and i was late, so i ended up in the back of the balcony not far from an even later drunk guy with two wine glasses. he kept laughing 'haaaaa' about five seconds after everyone else had stopped.
a lot of these were charming just because everyone was so enthusiastic and it was a relief to see some sex on screen that wasn't about being as hot or as sick as possible. it was maybe a little long, but worth it.
wednesday, april 23
mc5 * a true testimonial (2002) david c. thomas
with the director and the producer
um, the presenters were way too excited about introducing this film, but the crowd was up for it, and it seemed to work. are you from detroit? aren't we all.
this was pretty funny. it did get long. we were spared the mtv/vh-1 filler interviews with the flavor of the day on why kids should care about a band way more interesting then them. one of a few movies i saw where people shot on video, and didn't worry too much about what looks like crap on video. oh well. i liked best the scenes at gallup park and west park in ann arbor, the new interviews with john sinclair, still the best of them at talking, michael davis' questions about "who is that person, that mc5?", dennis thompson's red wings back to back cups travel mug, oh, and that footage from the seventies where they're interviewed in french and german.
thursday, april 24
rocha que voa [stones in the sky] (2002) eryk rocha
documentary tribute to his father, glauber rocha, director of antonio das mortes and black god, white devil
well, the interviews weren't bad, and there was some really great old footage of a woman making movies in cuba. i thought i would remember her name. i'll have to find some of her stuff. i liked the guy who makes fun of rocha's attachment to the cangaceiros. i was bored with the new footage with lots of shaky handheld shots, but i was really interested to learn more about rocha and his friends.
friday, april 25
the olive harvest (2003) hanna elias
with the director and the producer
this movie worked pretty well, but i had a hard time watching all the video shots that swept through the olive groves with all those tiny, pixelated leaves. somehow the metaphorical love story didn't end up with much life to it. there were a lot of first time actors. i am glad i went. the producer talked a lot more than anyone hoped. the director had some interesting things to say.
saturday, april 26
friday night (2001) claire denis
with claire denis. she stood right next to me for the first few minutes before she took off.
this was slow and methodical, beautiful. i felt a little claustrophobic with all the traffic scenes, and i wasn't too excited about the computer graphics stuff, but i really liked this movie, especially valerie lemercier, and the hotel room.
the best of times (2002) chang tso-chi
yet another fatalist boy meets gangsters plot. i did like this movie. i think the best parts were the interactions of the adults in the family, but i was impressed with the sister with leukemia, and the way she and the rest of the family struggled with her death.
sunday, april 27
heart of the sea: kapolioka'ehukai (2002) lisa denker, charlotte lagarde
with the directors
this really was a powerful film for me. rell sunn reminded me a lot of my mom, the way she went on with life with cancer. it did seem like i would be moved by her courage and generousity all the same. i was also really impressed by the camera shots of surfing from under the waves that they found in some archives. lots of great archival footage of rell, but the interview they'd taped with her just before she died was the real core of it. the directors had a lot of good things to say, and mentioned they stumbled on the project when rell called them back months after they'd tried and failed to pull together money for a history of women's surfing.
the weather underground (2003) sam green, bill siegel
with sam green
it felt really helpful for me to see some of the ubiquitous footage from vietnam, but this time with more context. some i'd seen just in prints, others in two-second bits, when a full ten seconds had a lot more to say. the interviews around the weather underground were very interesting, and i knew very little about them, so it was good to catch up a bit. todd gitlin comes off as way too self-important and didn't seem to add a lot. would have been good to spread the "what happenned to sds?" gripe around so it doesn't look like there was just one bitter man who didn't get his way. the audience had a lot to say afterwards, including "why not tie this in with protestors today?" and "why so much of gitlin?".
cautionary tales (2001-2003) curated by kathy geritz and irina leimbacher
with michael wilson and kerry laitala
i just found the listing for this, details to follow.
sex is comedy (2002) catherine breillat
with catherine breillat, who is amazing, and odd speaking english.
maybe i like any movie about making movies, where people bitch about each other behind each other's backs and to their faces. i liked this a lot.
tuesday, april 29
the sea (2002) baltasar kormakur
why did i go to this? funny, i guess, how the family is so horrible, but dull after a while. liked the actors who played the father and the older sister, and the scenes in the fish factories.
wednesday, april 30
virgin of lust (2002) arturo ripstein
with arturo ripstein and paz
i loved this, but somehow this night has slipped away from me.
nada + (2001) juan carlos cremata malberti
with the director
i never really got into this. can't remember why.
san francsico film society