Top pic picks - Page 3

SFIFF: Short takes on festival flicks

14-18: The Noise and the Fury

Transcending Lynch (Marcos Andrade, Brazil, 2010) Picture it: everyone's favorite psycho-thriller filmmaker and coffee retailer waxing beatific about peace, love, and "infinite bliss," his American Spirit–stained teeth frozen in a perma-grin as he extols the virtues of the "unified field" of consciousness. At certain moments in Transcending Lynch, an exploration of infamous auteur David Lynch and his 35-year devotion to transcendental meditation, the director comes across as flakier than the celebrated piecrust at Twin Peaks' Double R diner. (At one point he even utters the phrase "Holy jumping George!") For the irony-soaked, all the TM talk may be a little TMI, but for Lynch the practice is nothing short of the very source of his creative wellspring. Marcos Andrade's documentary, which follows Lynch on a 2008 Brazilian book tour, won't offer the mad-genius Eagle Scout's more rabid followers much new insight. While the movie strives to be meditative, it's more of an amalgam of trippy travelogue and pitch meeting. Even more frustrating, we get only teasing glimpses of how TM has directly informed and impacted the artist's work. Lynch may be on the path to universal enlightenment, but when it comes to the man himself, the rest of us ignoramuses are still mostly in the dark. Sat/24, 6:30pm, Kabuki; Mon/26, 9pm, Kabuki; Tues/27, 12:30pm, Kabuki. (Michelle Devereaux)

14-18: The Noise and the Fury (Jean-Françoise Delassus, France/Belgium, 2009) Made for French TV, Jean-Françoise Delassus' unclassifiable film would be arresting simply for cobbling together seldom-seen archival footage reflecting all aspects of the First World War, from its leaders to its trenches. But he and co-scenarist Isabelle Rabineau have shaped that footage into a narrative driven by the writings of a (fictional) French everyman soldier who somehow manages to survive and serve in most of its major conflicts. The result melds exquisite color tinting, first-person narration, clips from commercial films about the war (by D.W. Griffith and Chaplin as well as European directors), and ambient sound to create a brilliant kind of living history lesson that makes the events of nearly a century ago seem as immediate as yesterday's. Mon/26, 4:30 p.m., Kabuki; May 1, 2 p.m., Kabuki; May 3, 9 p.m., Kabuki. (Harvey)

The Peddler (Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano, and Adriana Yurkovich, Argentina, 2009) Daniel Burmeister is a traveling filmmaker. He drives his infirm jalopy from one small Argentine town to the next, hoping to set up camp for a month and make a movie with the locals. He'll need food, a place to stay, and a camera. Whatever camera they can find. Usually the mayors are easy to convince, because Burmeister is essentially a regional attraction, a one-man circus they know about from the neighboring towns. It's this strange repurposing of the filmmaking experience that makes the documentary so distinctive and special. And just watching the old man hustle from shot to shot with his bashful actors, working efficiently from one of the handful of scripts he's been cycling through for years, is an absolute pleasure. Directors Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano, and Adriana Yurcovich capture the jury-rigged process with unobtrusive admiration and an absence of condescension. As I watched it I kept thinking it was like the soul that was missing from Michel Gondry's 2008 warmed-over DIY manifesto Be Kind Rewind. Mon/26, 6:30 p.m., PFA; May 1, 12:30 p.m., Kabuki; May 4, 6:30 p.m., Kabuki. (Jason Shamai)