What to see at the always fiesty film fest? From est to the Ugliest Dog in the World, our writers screen a gaggle of independent offerings on a world of subjects
So much to see, independently! Below are some quick reviews of flicks that caught our attention ...
SAN FRANCISCO INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL Feb 3–17, most shows $11. Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., SF. 1-800-838-3006, www.sfindie.com
Bloodied but Unbowed (Susanne Tabata, Canada, 2010) "Nobody tells you that by the time you're 25 half your friends will be gone" is just one of the memorable lines in Bloodied but Unbowed, director-writer Susanne Tabata's affectionate and probing doc on the Vancouver punk-hardcore scene. It could have been any scene from around the U.S. in the early 1980s — except most weren't as politicized and didn't birth bands like the perpetually touring D.O.A., with speed-demon-in-the-pocket drummer Chuck Biscuits, who the Clash called the best, and the Subhumans, who made an impact with such songs as "Slave to My Dick" and whose vocalist Gerry "Useless" Hannah ended up serving five years in the pen for his involvement in the anarchist group Direct Action. Culling telling quotes from the musicians, managers, and knowledgeable onlookers like Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins, and Duff McKagen, Tabata contextualizes the scene up north, while also capturing the moment with the still-vital music, genuine-article photos and footage from Dennis Hopper's Out of the Blue (1980), and those ironclad anecdotes, ending with the images of a road-worn D.O.A. and an encounter with the vanquished hope of the punk scene, Art Bergmann. What came after hardcore? Heroin is the bittersweet, inevitable punch line. But as narrator Billy Hopeless of the Black Halos offers at Bloodied but Unbowed's close, the memories and the music survive — and continue to inspire others to write their own chapters. Feb. 11 and 14, 7 p.m. (Kimberly Chun)
We Are What We Are (Jorge Michel Grau, Mexico, 2010) Hewn from the same downbeat, horror-in-the-cruddy-apartment-next-door fabric as 2008's Let the Right One In, Mexican import We Are What We Are is a disturbing, well-crafted peek into the grubby goings-on of a family of urban cannibals. In the opening minutes, the patriarch collapses and dies in a shopping center; the rest of writer-director Jorge Michel Grau's film follows the frantic actions of his widow and three kids, notably oldest son and apparent heir-to-the-hunt Alfredo (Francisco Barreiro), who seems way to timid to become the resident Leatherface. With Lady MacBeth-ish sis Sabina (Paulina Gaitán) urging him on — and volatile younger brother Julián (Alan Chávez) doing his best to blow the family's tenuously-held cover — Alfredo grapples with the gory task at hand. (And I do mean gory.) If you miss this must-see at IndieFest (it's sure to be a hot ticket), stay tuned for a theatrical release later in 2011. Fri/4, 7 p.m. (Eddy)