Friday, May 7, 2010

San Francisco Lowdown

After a mind-blowing trip to the San Francisco Festival I thought I'd post the extended highlights in trailer form. First off Walter Salles' Linha De Passe.

Salles was the Honorary Director at the festival, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Akira Kurosawa and Francis Ford Coppola. I would never have classed myself as a 'Walter Salles fan' but after attending a wonderful event with him 'In conversation with Alexandero Gonazalez Innaratu', I am a convert. Screening a complete rough cut of a documentary charting his efforts to film the Kerouac novel "On the Road", Salles memorably twisted the Jorge Luis Borges line about Literature stating "Documentary is naming that which hasn't been named"

His love of cinema, documentary and stills photography, his knowledge and easy going manner gave me a new appreciation of previous works such as "Central Station" and "The Motorcycle Diaries" and also a candy coated opportunity to check out "Linha de Passe", his 2008 masterpiece made almost entirely with non-actors and a crew of first time filmmakers. The film, a look at a fatherless family of four boys and their mother living on the fringes of Sao Paolo, was incredible to see 'in the moment' and to appreciate the possibilities of filmmaking once again.

Inspiring stuff.

Salles' likely South American successor Pedro Gonzales Rubio seems to be making some of his own moves in the film world scooping the New Director's Prize with his debut feature effort "Alamar" which I didn't see but gets great word of mouth.

On a completely different tip was the sumptuous "I am Love", Luca Guadagnino's multi-layered epic of a bourgeois Milanese family. The film could be best described as Wes Anderson meets Antonioni and was a cinema experience not to be forgotton. Comes highly recommended for fashionistas, Tilda Swinton disciples and fledgling camera operators everwhere.

In the realm of the documentary, "Colony" was scooped in the Documentary Competition category by the powerhouse that is Lixin Fan's "Last Train Home". Surely marching towards an Oscar in 2011, the film is a deserving winner anywhere it goes. Other documentary highlights included the shell-shocked "Restrepo" by Tim Hetheringon and Sebastian Junger and the subversive "Marwencol" by Jeff Malmberg both of which fight different kinds of battles in different kinds of places but were both equally watchable. I can't find a trailer for Marwencol but the website is linked above.