Film Features

Apichatpong Weerasethakul on disasters and black magic

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Whereas David Lynch at times uses all the excesses of a bad rock video to give form to the dream logic that structures his films, Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul creates quietly evocative reveries. Pierced by moments of sharp humor and unexpected beauty, Apichatpong's movies are imbued with a sense of openness, a responsive flexibility that allows their course to be redirected by serendipitous forces: a song, memories, folk tales. Read more »

Seattle's finest

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a&eletters@sfbg.com

The Crime Watch column was far and away the most entertaining part of my hometown's local paper. Police Beat, a week-in-the-life account of a Seattle-by-way-of-Senegal bike cop named Z (played by nonprofessional actor Pape S. Niang), is structured around these strangely revealing public records, culled from the real Seattle blotter by writer Charles Mudede. Read more »

Brothers in arms

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cheryl@sfbg.com

In a vulnerable country occupied by a foreign power, civilian frustration leads to anger, which soon explodes into a violent, uncontainable insurgent movement. Read more »

If she could turn back time

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johnny@sfbg.com

"The only way out is forward!" a character exclaims roughly 65 minutes into 1972's 111-minute-long The Poseidon Adventure. The same guy says the same thing around 46 minutes into Anne McGuire's 2006 remake-reversal of exactly the same length, Adventure Poseidon The. Yet no matter how or when it's sliced, the soon-to-be-doomed character's sentiment isn't quite right. In Ronald Neame's original, the way out is actually up — albeit through the bottom of a capsized ship. Read more »

Innervisions

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Rome wasn't built in a day, but cinema's eternal enfant terrible Jean-Luc Godard did direct Contempt, Band of Outsiders, Alphaville, Pierrot le Fou, Masculine-Feminine, Two or Three Things I Know about Her, and Weekend (and a few others too) in the four years leading up to the political explosions of 1968. These trenchant, tenacious films are as good a record as any we have of an era when light-speed changes in culture and politics only seemed to make history grind to a halt. Read more »

Sleazy like Sunday morning

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The collective teeth of umpteen fanboys and fangirls commenced grinding when it was announced that the release of the Quentin Tarantino–Robert Rodriguez nuevo-schlock faux double bill Grindhouse would be preceded by rare 35mm revival screenings of actual '60s through '80s sleazebag hits such as Fight for Your Life and They Call Me One-Eye. A wonderful and laudable thing, of course — at least if you live within driving reach of Los Angeles's New Beverly Cinema.

Well, if you can't join 'em, beat 'em. Read more »

Imitation of Kubrick

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John Malkovich dominates Colour Me Kubrick in much the same way a poodle might lift its pampered leg to claim each stationary street object with its personal scent. He's offensive, oblivious, frilly, absurd — all in service to a character's refined self-preservative instinct, of course.

This happens from his first seconds onscreen, when he's just a background form moving blurrily down a rear staircase while we're supposed to be focused on an attractive young foreground figure — who turns out to be the focus of Malkovich's attention too. Read more »

SFIAAFF: Got fangs?

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kimberly@sfbg.com

What a difference an indie blockbuster makes. The last time I spoke to Better Luck Tomorrow writer and director Justin Lin, he was energetically doing the grassroots festival rounds, beating the shrubbery on the importance of Asian Americans making Asian Pacific Islander films with empowered, complex characters. Yet judging from the craft, ideas, humor, and humanity that went into Lin's compelling final product, luck was only one part of it. Read more »

SFIAAFF: Freedom isn't free

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cheryl@sfbg.com

Aside from one upbeat depiction of Hawaii's only all-male hula school (Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula), the nominees in the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival's documentary competition are nearly as similar in execution as they are in theme. Immigration tales, filmed in high-definition video from a first-person perspective, abound. Though homelands (Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, and Korea) differ, there's remarkable commonality among the subjects, who display the kind of internal scars only great suffering can inflict. Read more »

SFIAAFF: These monsters are real

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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

"Even though it's difficult to be human, let's not turn into monsters." This is said as a reprimand to Gyung-soo (Kim Sang-kyung), a mildly successful stage actor, by one of his colleagues early in South Korean director Hong Sang-soo's Turning Gate (2002). Read more »