For your further consideration

Short takes on SFIFF 2012, week two

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Leapin' lizards: From 'Don't Stop Believin'"

More reviews of films playing during the San Francisco Internation Film Festival. For more SFIFF coverage, click here.

WED/25

Last Screening (Laurent Achard, France, 2011) A bit of an odd duck, 30-ish, nondescript Sylvain (Pascal Cervo) is in denial over the imminent closure of the small French repertory cinema he's operated and lived in for years. But that's hardly his most alarming mental hang-up: in his spare time he frequently goes around stalking and killing random women for a grisly purpose that has to do (of course) with his dear, departed, thoroughly demented mother. The only horror item in this year's slim SFIFF "Late Show" section, Laurent Achard's pulseless genre homage tips hat to 1960's Peeping Tom and other, less obvious cineastic objets d'amour — most conspicuously, Renoir's 1954 French Can Can, which is playing at Sylvain's theater — but doesn't seem interested in suspense, or psychology, or even style. It's coldly unpleasant yet dull. Wed/25, 9:30pm, FSC. Sat/28, 10pm, Kabuki. (Dennis Harvey)

 

THU/26

Rebellion (Mathieu Kassovitz, France, 2011) The latest polemical film from the director of La Haine (1995) presents National Gendarmerie Intervention Group Captain Philippe Lejorus' account of his experiences during the 1988 New Caledonia hostage crisis. It's an election year in France, so all bets are off as to how the unfortunate fiasco will resolve. Striking camerawork distinguishes this tense, morally complex drama, which features Kassovitz as Lejorus, a humane negotiator in the midst of a politically charged battle for hearts, minds, and civil rights. The film is edited to embody its political context, with distancing effects such as voiceover and suddenly reframed shots that emphasize the two sides of a disagreement. Thu/26, 6pm; Tue/1, 9:45pm; May 3, 4:30pm, Kabuki. (Sam Stander)

 

FRI/27

Pierre Rissient: Man of Cinema (Todd McCarthy, U.S., 2007) Legendary French film publicist, programmer, director, and movie junkie Pierre Rissient gets his own filmic homage in this documentary from Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy (1992's Visions of Light). Rissient, who will receive the Mel Novikoff Award at this year's festival, is certainly a character — the round-faced septuagenarian oozes a puppy-dog cuddliness cut with a formidable intellect and a hint of tart, old-man pervy-ness. But this collection of talking heads interspersed with classic film clips is unfortunately a bit of a snooze. Considering said talking heads include cinematic firebrands like Werner Herzog and the late Claude Chabrol, and with a character passionate as Rissient at its center, that's surprising. "No one in the world of cinema can tell you what he does," Chabrol remarks. After watching the film you probably won't be able to figure it out either. Fri/27, 4pm, FSC. Mon/30, 6:30pm, PFA. (Michelle Devereaux)

 

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