East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

SFIFF seen

In the City of Sylvia (José Luis Guerín, 2007): As swoonful a tourist promo for Strasbourg as Before Sunrise was for Vienna: those trams, how kawaii! Our handsome Old Romantic hero stalks a woman across town, as sources of light and sound shift around her (aside: why is subjective lighting inevitably realist, while foley effects are more psychological? Somebody must've thought about this). He glances from face to face -- is that his Sylvie? But something rises to compete with his loneliness: as extras are shot like protagonists, we get to take them in, in a way it's hard to do in real life (because it's rude to stare). Lonely as you are? The city never is. A

The Toe Tactic (Emily Hubley, 2008): Let's hope the New Niceness becomes a movement (humblecore? M. July is lovely, but I never thought of her as humble.) The draw is Hubley's metamorphosing animations, in the spirit of her visualisation of capital-P Platonic soul-mating in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, while the cameo-filled live sequences are just personal and eccentric enough to hold the movie together. Nepotists Yo La Tengo help a lot with a soundtrack that includes, and largely sounds like, "Daphnia". B PLUS

Pitcher of Colored Light (Robert Beavers, 2007): Beavers shoots his mother's house and garden as an extension of herself, his curious camera fading out from one object and into another. Mom's possessions will survive her, as will this film. The best segment of the In a Lonely Place programme of emergent cinema, though I also like Katharin McInnis's Woodward's Gardens, a record of the decarnivalisation of 14th and Mission -- in 3D! B PLUS

Go Go Tales (Abel Ferrera, 2007): For one thing, an Altman flick would have more than one developed character (Willem Dafoe in a generally affable mood as the strip club owner); for another, decent dialogue. But many of the ensemble nail their shining moments, two involving dogs: Asia Argento tongue-kisses hers, while Matthew Modine merely mimes on a toy piano for his. B MINUS

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