We here in San Francisco and the Bay Area might have it better than anywhere else in the US when it comes to breadth and variety of movie programming. We've got different rep houses, the usual chains, some daring museums, possibly the best independent spaces, and so many festivals I've given up counting. Yet while there's no avoiding a coming blockbuster, there's still a chance that a great movie or a movie that at least sounds like it has potential might not come to town. In that spirit, with a monumental SFIFF 50 banquet set to commence, I'm throwing down a list of 50 movies I'd like to see -- films or videos that (I think) have yet to play here. I've spoken with enough programmers to know that some things listed below might be impossible or overly expensive dreams, while others might simply turn out to be rotten. If something below has played SF, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll take it off the list and replace it with something else. This list is now open -- to endless revision. What do you want to see? Post your suggestions; I wanna know!
1. Southland Tales
Richard Kelly's follow-up to Donnie Darko is in some strange limbo. It got bashed at Cannes, but a few critics I trust, such as Amy Taubin, have rushed to its defense.
2. No Place Like Home
Perry Henzell's long unfinished follow-up to The Harder They Come! Featuring Grace Jones and P.J. Soles in their prime!
Tacita Dean's elegy for film got tons of art world praise last year.
4. Still Life
This far into '07, it's strange that Jia Zhangke's latest (or its doc counterpart, Dong) hasn't arrived.
5. Daft Punk's Electroma
Bring on the neon wonderlands.
6. Chasing Ghosts
Pac-Maniacs are chomping at the dots to see this doc dedicated to video games.
One of the older movies on this list. Director Akihiko Shiota made one of my fave five films of this decade, 2001's Harmful Insect, which also got no distribution though its pure cinema did play what was the NAATA fest. This one is probably the closest to Harmful Insect in subject matter and style, with a score by Otomo Yoshihide.
8. The films of Cameron Jamie
Apartment and backyard wresting in strange costumes, in the Valley, with music by the Melvins.
9. Master of Reality
Feature doc bout Texas backyard wrestler Ronny Long with Black Sabbath title. Need I say more?
It's been described as a lean horror machine. From France.
11. Paper Rad -- Trash Talking DVD and anything else
I'm sure ATA and/or Other Cinema has given some programming time to Paper Rad, but someone should give their seizure-inducing troll hallucinations and CD-ROM rants a full night or more.
12. Clear to Engage
Keith Sanborn's Iraq-related doc sounds like must-see stuff for its unedited vigilance. Has it been shown in the US?
13. M, Bakushi, and other films by Ryuichi Hiroki
It's Only Talk proved what Vibrator hinted -- Ryuichi makes the best women's pictures, and best drama-comedies period -- today. It's Only Talk deserves a distributor and his newer movies deserve some fest dates.
14. Squatterpunk and all other movies by Khavn (aka Khavn de la Cruz)
I wanna see Khavn movies. He rocks too -- read about him.
All descriptions of Raya Martin's second film further indicate a talent of Apichatpong-level potential.
16. Son of Rambow
This movie about a kid obsessed with First Blood was one of the few flicks at this year's Sundance to get decent praise.
17. Manufacturing Landscapes
Jesse Ficks has love for this doc about Edward Burtynsky.
18. La Marea
First feature from the man behind the amazing cinematography in Carlos Reygadas's films.
First feature film by George Ratliff, who made the great doc Hell House.
20. TV Carnage
Amoeba Music loves TV Carnage. I love TV Carnage. Someone fly Pinky into town for a night in his honor! Or fight for the honor of premiering his mega-cop movie.
This should probably be higher. Stan Douglas's endless Cariboo-set epic installation, with soundtrack by Rhythm and Sound. Add his take on Suspiria for good measure.
22. Never Forever
Gina Kim's little-seen first film Invisible Light was wrenchingly intense, and her follow-up has Vera Farmigia.
Lukas Moodysson of Lilya 4-Ever, Show Me Love, and Together seems to have fallen off the US distrib radar, a major shame considering his talent. This experimental work features Jena Malone's voice.
24. Movies by Thomas Bogaert and Martin Arnold
Saturday night Fever gone even more feverish (in a Bogaert short). No moviemaker has made me laugh harder than Arnold.
25. Shadows Choose Their Horrors
This might out-Maddin Guy Maddin (by reining the style in a bit) and other recent post- Time We Killed shorts by Jen Reeves sound intriguing.
-- commentary to come for the second batch of 25
31. Love Conquers All
33. Soapbox Agitation #1: Proving Ground
35. Yokohoma Mary
36. Excavating Taylor Mead
38. Todo Todo Teros
39. In the Shadow of the Light
40. Killer Within
41. The Unpolished
42. Last Winter
43. Rain Dogs
44. The Boy From Mars
46. Hamaca Paraguaya
47. 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris
49. The Last Communist