Friday, February 1


Fresh Snow and Dark Rain

I arrived back from Sundance nearly a week ago but am still putting together a proper wrap-up post. In the meantime, you can read my GreenCine Daily takes on James Benning's casting a glance, Ernesto Contreras's Blue Eyelids, the Animation Spotlight program, Michael Haneke's new Funny Games remake, and Isabel Vega and Amanda Micheli's 40-minute documentary La Corona. The latter is one of the Oscar nominees in the Best Documentary Short category, and I also contributed a piece for Nathaniel Rogers' the Film Experience revealing my current thoughts on that race, having seen three out of four of the nominees before they were announced last week. San Francisco State's Documentary Film Institute will be screening all four films, as well as the Documentary Feature Oscar nominees, February 19-21 at the Kabuki Theatre.

Whereas last year I focused almost entirely on documentaries, this year I had a somewhat more well-rounded Sundance, taking in at least one film program from each of the festival's ten sections. My top five favorite features overall were Ballast, Eat, for This Is My Body, my first major exposures to the work of Derek Jarman, Edward II and Derek, and finally, Baghead (which I urge you not to read about, just see when Sony Pictures Classics brings it out!) A top ten could be rounded out by Nerakhoon, Blue Eyelids, casting a glance, the inspiring the Women of Brukman, and, though it feels in some ways more suited to a gallery space than to a a cinema, Yang Fudong's Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Part 4

Back in soggy Frisco, I've taken in a few programs at the Noir City 6 film festival, which is being covered extensively at the Evening Class website. The festival runs through Sunday, when it closes with the superb Night and the City, which I saw when it played as a late-addition to Noir City 3. Here's what I wrote on an online discussion forum at the time, and still stand by (though wincing slightly at the overuse of the word 'perfect'):
A perfect example of doomed noir complete with femme fatale, only set in London. Richard Widmark gives a magnetically frantic performance that I don't suppose I'll ever forget; he's like an overgrown child actor in this, which is perfect for his in-over-his-head character.

...Perhaps you should have said "POIFECT" example of doomed noir?


Thanks for the tip of the hat.
Hey, when the fedora fits...
Welcome back Brian! Your post has me stoked about Baghead--I'll try to ignore anything written about it...though it's so tempting...til I see it for myself.
As it turns out, I think Rob Davis, who talks about Baghead a bit in his latest podcast (which I'm honored to have participated in as well), was able to do so intriguingly without giving away too much, unlike most of the coverage of that film I've seen and heard in the past week or so. I still think it will be most fun for people to see Baghead knowing absolutely nothing about it, but if they're gonna know something, I consider Rob's comments an acceptable source of information.
I actually agree with you, Brian. I really enjoyed seeing Baghead with no context at all. Still, I felt like I had to say something; I'm glad my dancing around the plot passes muster. :-)

Thanks very much for participating! I think many of the films you saw at Sundance are underrepresented in the general coverage of the fest, and I'm glad that we spent close to 7 minutes of the podcast talking about Eat, For This is My Body. Felt like we could have kept going on that one ...
Maybe somebody will bring a print to Frisco, we can revisit the film and see what we think after a second viewing...
Glad to have you back!

I leave for New Zealand and Australia again in March, so we definitely need to get together (in your new neighborhood) before then.

Good idea, Brian.
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