Short takes: SFIFF week one - Page 4

You're Next, Rosie, The Kill Team, The Patience Stone, and more reviews of film fest features

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The Patience Stone

Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, US, 2012) Feature documentaries Benjamin Smoke (2000) and Instrument (2003) are probably Jem Cohen's best-known works, but this prolific filmmaker — an inspired choice for SFIFF's Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award, honoring "a filmmaker whose main body of work is outside the realm of narrative feature filmmaking" — has a remarkably diverse resume of shorts, music videos, and at least one previous narrative film (albeit one with experimental elements), 2004's Chain. Cohen appears in person to discuss his work and present his latest film, Museum Hours, about a guard at Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum ("the big old one," the man calls it) who befriends a Montreal woman visiting her comatose cousin. It's a deceptively simple story that expands into a deeply felt, gorgeously shot rumination on friendship, loneliness, travel, art history and appreciation, and finding the beauty in the details of everyday life. Sun/28, 5:30pm, Kabuki. (Eddy)

The Patience Stone (Atiq Rahimi, France/Germany/England/Afghanistan, 2012) "You're the one that's wounded, yet I'm the one that's suffering," complains the good Afghan wife of Patience Stone in this theatrical yet charged adaptation of Atiq Rahimi's best-selling novel, directed by the Kabul native himself. As The Patience Stone opens, a beautiful, nameless young woman (Golshifteh Farahani) is fighting to not only keep alive her comatose husband, a onetime Jihadist with a bullet lodged in his neck, but also simply survive on her own with little money and two small daughters and a war going off all around her. In a surprising turn, her once-heedless husband becomes her solace — her silent confidante and her so-called patience stone — as she talks about her fears, secrets, memories, and desires, the latter sparked by a meeting with a young soldier. Despite the mostly stagy treatment of the action, mainly isolated to a single room or house (although the guerilla-shot scenes on Kabul streets are rife with a feeling of real jeopardy), The Patience Stone achieves lift-off, thanks to the power of a once-silenced woman's story and a heart-rending performance by Farahani, once a star and now banned in her native Iran. Mon/29, 6:30pm, and Tues/30, 8:45pm, Kabuki. (Chun)

Peaches Does Herself (Peaches, Germany, 2012) Canadian-born yet the quintessential modern Berlin act — transgressively sexed-up electroclash slash-performance artist — Peaches delivers an expectedly high-concept live show in this nimbly cinematic concert movie. The first 15 minutes or so are absolutely great: raunchy, hilarious, imaginatively staged (completely with an orgiastically inclined dance troupe). But after a while it really begins to bog down in prolonged appearances by elderly burlesque-type standup Dannii Daniels, stilted ones by Amazonian transsexual Sandy Kane, and an attempt at a quasi-romantic-triangle narrative that is meant to be funny and outrageous but just kinda lies there. Diehard fans will be thrilled, but most viewers will hit an exhaustion point long before the film reaches its (admittedly funny) fadeout. Mon/29, 9:45pm, and May 2, 9:15pm, Kabuki. (Harvey) *

The San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 25-May 9 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF; New People Cinema, 1746 Post, SF; Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft, Berk; and Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post, SF. For tickets (most shows $10-15) and info, visit festival.sffs.org.

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