Pixel Vision

SFIFF notebook: Ludivine Sagnier x 2

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By Jeffrey M. Anderson

That blond firecracker Ludivine Sagnier, 28, turned up at the festival to accompany her new film A Girl Cut in Two, directed by the French new wave filmmaker Claude Chabrol, and she was gracious enough to sit down with me for a chat. Sagnier is happy to talk about her character Gabrielle Deneige (or "Gabrielle Snow" in the English subtitles), a television weather girl who becomes torn between two men, an older, married author and a younger, rich, spoiled brat. Read more »

SFIFF award winners: Up the Yangtze and Ballast

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The SF International Film Festival's Golden Gate Awards ceremony took place last night. Below, Jeffrey M. Anderson sounds off on two films that nabbed honors: Best Documentary Feature winner Up the Yangtze, by Yung Chang, and FIPRESCI winner Ballast, by Lance Hammer:

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The documentary Up the Yangtze is a perfect companion piece to Jia Zhangke's Still Life. Read more »

Lit and Film: Mostly True and Who is Bozo Texino?

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"I hear you callin', baby, but you ain't gettin' me. Not today, anyhow."

This week's Guardian features a trio of railroad-related stories. On the Lower Frequencies author Erick Lyle writes about the train-hopping photos of the Polaroid Kidd and the words and images of William T. Vollmann. Cinema Scope chief and film programmer Mark Peranson talks with James Benning about his new movie RR. Read more »

Cutest. Platypus. Ever.

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So -- at last! -- the platypus genome has been decoded, and it's apparently a doozie, much like the duck-billed, egg-laying, fur-covered, milk-producing wonder of nature itself.

Even more interesting for me this morning, however, was the discovery that a baby platypus is called a puggle. And that it looks like this:

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Puggle-Aaaaw! Read more »

Of Katie Couric and Dan Rather

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One female anchor is losing her job; another, her clothes

By Leslie Griffith

When Katie Couric was given the title of “America’s sweetheart it was a death knell. America relishes devouring its sweethearts. Read more »

SFIFF: A magic act from Claude Chabrol

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Jeffrey M. Anderson looks at the latest sinister magic act from veteran auteur Claude Chabrol:

Claude Chabrol's A Girl Cut in Two is about as good as any of his films, which is to say, it is highly skilled and hugely entertaining. Yet it will probably come and go fairly quickly. Chabrol made his fiftieth film a few years back, and when you make your fiftieth film, no one cares. If the Coen Brothers or Paul Thomas Anderson live long enough to make fifty films, just see if anyone notices. Read more »

SFIFF: The umbrellas of China

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Jennique Mason weighs in on Du Haibin's Umbrella, also featured in Jeffrey M. Anderson's 'SFIFF, day ten' diary:

Director Du Haibin reveals the gap between labor and commodity in his modern-day documentary odyssey Umbrella. Beginning with the actual construction of mass-produced umbrellas in an urban factory, Du traces the product’s journey as it becomes increasingly divorced from its origins. Read more »

SFIFF, day ten: Cachao and the wow of Still Life

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By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Last night, Maria Bello accepted her Peter J. Owens award and hosted a screening of her new film Yellow Handkerchief. I haven't seen that film yet, but Bello will always have a place in my heart for her fearless performance in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence (2005).

If you saw Buena Vista Social Club at the festival in 1999 and Calle 54 at the festival in 2001, then you may be familiar with the music of Israel 'Cachao' Lopez, the great Cuban songwriter and bassist who helped bring the mambo to popularity. Read more »

Digital killed the Polaroid star

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By Justin Juul

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Attention all aspiring American Apparel models! Stop eating this very moment and get yourself a one-way ticket to Downtown LA because your dreams are on the verge of crumbling. The rumors are true. Read more »

SFIFF, day eight: Bed, bath and beyond the ordinary

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By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I love the festival's crazy Late Show selections, but sometimes I miss them. Luckily, Abel Ferrara's Go Go Tales screened for a third time on Wednesday afternoon. It's very reminiscent of John Cassavetes' 1974 The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, but not as focused. (Ferrara's style is even more rambling.)

Willem Dafoe plays Ray Ruby, a man living his dream by running a strip club. The trouble is that the club is failing, the girls haven't been paid and Ray loves to blow all his money on lotto tickets. Read more »