SFIFF: Shots in the dark - Page 2

Short takes on SFIFF
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Alas, he can't get a flock until he lands a wife — and the only local prospect, Tulpan, rejects him on the basis of his "big ears" (and the small fact that she would like to move out of the sticks, into the city, and maybe even attend college). Traditional ways bump up against more ambitious ones (as when Asa dreams of a satellite dish), just as comedic moments trade screen time with grittier scenarios (including actual footage of a sheep giving birth). The end result is an intimate and somehow totally relatable look at a fascinatingly foreign world. (Cheryl Eddy) 6:15 p.m., PFA. Also Mon/27, 9:15 p.m., Sundance Kabuki; April 30, 4:45 p.m., Sundance Kabuki.

TUES/28

In the Loop (Armando Iannucci, England, 2009) A typically fumbling remark by U.K. Minister of International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) ignites a media firestorm, as it seems to suggest war is imminent even as both Brit and U.S. governments are downplaying the likelihood of the Iraq invasion they're simultaneously preparing for. Suddenly cast as an important arbiter of global affairs — a role he's perhaps less suited for than playing the Easter Bunny — Simon becomes one chess-piece in a cutthroat game whose participants on both sides of the Atlantic include his own subordinates, the prime minister's rageaholic communications chief, major Pentagon and State Department honchos, crazy constituents, and more. This frenetic comedy of behind-the-scenes backstabbing and its direct influence on the highest-level diplomatic and military policies is scabrously funny in the best tradition of English television, which is (naturally) just where its creators hei from. (Harvey) 9:30 p.m., Sundance Kabuki. Also May 2, 9:30 p.m., Sundance Kabuki.

APRIL 30

California Company Town (Lee Anne Schmitt, USA, 2008) This land isn't your land, or my land, and it wasn't made for you and me — such is the insightful and incite-full impression one gets from California Company Town. Schmitt's beautifully photographed, concisely narrated, and ominously structured look at the Golden State and the state of capitalism is labor of love, shot between 2003 and 2008; it's a provocative piece of American history. On a semi-buried level, it's also an extraordinary act of personal filmmaking that subverts various stereotypes of first-person storytelling by women while simultaneously learning from and breaking away from some esteemed directors of the essay film. (Johnny Ray Huston) 8:35 p.m., PFA. Also May 2, 6:45 p.m., Sundance Kabuki; May 4, 3:30 p.m., Sundance Kabuki.

Rudo y Cursi (Carlos Cuarón, Mexico, 2008) A who's-who of Mexican cinema giants have their cleats in soccer yarn Rudo y Cursi: stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, and producers Alfonso Cuarón (whose brother, Carlos, wrote and directed), Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Guillermo del Toro. But while Rudo is entertaining, it's surprisingly lightweight considering the talent involved. Bernal and Luna play Tato and Beto, rural half-brothers discovered by a jovially crooked soccer scout (Guillermo Francella) who gets them gigs playing on Mexico City teams. But athletic achievement seems barely a concern. Of far more importance are Tato's crooning dreams and high-profile romance with a vapid TV star, and Beto's left-behind wife and kids — not to mention his raging gambling addiction. Though the drama boils down to one final game (of course), Rudo is really about the bonds and brawls between brothers, not sports teams. Goal? (Eddy) 6:15 p.m., Sundance Kabuki.

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