The films of Matias Piñeiro are, we are told, above all other things “clever”. Arthouse confections structured, however loosely, as riffs on Shakespeare’s plays, the Argentinian-born director’s works straddle a line between creative reimaginings and film school twee. Hermia and Helena is my first Piñeiro (grain of salt and all that), but if it’s any indication, I’m coming down decidedly on the side of the latter.
SF Film Fest
Sieranevada is a chronicle of false starts and interruptions. Clocking in at nearly three hours and rarely venturing out of a single, cramped apartment, writer/director Cristi Puiu‘s ultra-realist epic of Romanian family dysfunction is simultaneously hilarious and insufferable, filled with complicated interpersonal back-stories, old grudges, and meals that can’t seem to get started.
Lee Morgan was only a teenager when he exploded onto the bop scene, a cocky but undeniably talented kid ably sharing the stage with Dizzy Gillespie. He played alongside his friend Wayne Shorter in Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers, basically defining Blue Note’s hard bop sound at the time.
After some kind words about our fair city and an enthusiastic celebration of the communal theater experience he holds so dear, Gray closed it out by saying:
Well, that’s probably enough.
Brillante Mendoza‘s films, social realist to the core, tend to focus on marginalized people in Manila struggling to get by in gritty circumstances. The prolific Filipino auteur (24 credits in 11 years) won the Best Director award at Cannes for his Kinatay, and the electrifying Ma’ Rosa continues in a similar thematic vein.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne specialize in humanist fables, small-scale social realist portraits of working-class people caught in difficult moral situations. At their best — the Palme D’or-winning L’Enfant, The Kid With A Bike, Two Days, One Night — the brothers conjure believably fraught circumstances and ethically conflicted characters on journeys of different kinds.
Watching She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, director Mary Dore’s perfectly agreeable and accomplished 2014 documentary about the birth of the modern women’s movement in the U.S., it’s hard not to feel there’s something staid about the proceedings.
The Georgian film The Summer of Frozen Fountains, director Vano Burduli’s second feature, is a curious beast. It’s light on its feet, dipping in and out of the lives of numerous characters, but seems almost stubborn in its refusal to amount to much.
Matthew Ross’ inspired, tense debut Frank & Lola wears its influences on its sleeve – De Palma, Polanski, echoes of Eyes Wide Shut. It makes the most of leads Michael Shannon and Imogen “Best Name In Show Business” Poots, both of whom are having banner years with Midnight Special and Green Room, respectively, and upends audience expectations at regular intervals.
If you know one thing about Hampton Fancher, it’s very likely either his early success on “Bonanza” or that he’s credited with co-writing Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s classic adaptation of Philip K. Dick.
But did you know he ran away from home at 15 to become a flamenco dancer, hopping a boat to Spain and renaming himself “Mario Montejo”?