by Ryland Walker Knight
[Update (7/22/08): article can be found here.]
The piece should be up at The House Next Door by now but my school work kept me occupied during the week and a big tentpole picture got in the way (took precedence?) here at the week's end. Luckily, a lot of my fellow Bay Area bloggers have covered the festival already (see below). I just hope my belated wrap up can serve as a nice, final grace note. It was a heck of a weekend. I really dug it, even though I missed a number of the fims. I look forward to attending next year provided I'm still in the Bay (which Allison bet me will be the case). The highlight of the weekend, I must confess, was meeting and hanging out with Girish Shambu and Darren Hughes, who Michael "Maya" Guillen was hosting. We skipped the Saturday night showing of The Man Who Laughs (which I want to watch soon thanks to Michael's recent posts and that big tentpole picture's allusions) to enjoy a leisurely dinner and good, old-fashioned cinephile jibber jabber.
One film I did not mention in my House piece is the short that preceded Jujiro: a nine minute color film called Kaleidoscope from 1925. I wish I'd gone pirate style and videotaped it. Not that my digital camera would do it justice. Part of the power was how big it felt up there on the Castro's wonderful screen. Plus, it reminded me of Painlevé's Liquid Crystals*. All it was: color plates shifting in space, cut up by mirrors and edits, merging and splitting and washing into a huge affective pool of light. I could have watched that forever. (Especially if Yo La Tengo had scored this one; although I quite dug what Stephen Horne provided on piano.) I guess my next venture should be into the avant guarde. Like, for real. Any suggestions on where to start with that?
[A link dump for all the local coverage I've come across.]
At The Evening Class:
- Michael Hawley's preview.
- Michael "Maya" Guillen's interview with SFSFF artistic director Stephen Salmons: Part One and Part Two.
- A round up of local coverage.
- A transcription of Guy Maddin's introduction to The Unknown.
- Maya's thoughts on The Unknown.
- Connections between The Dark Knight and The Man Who Laughs.
- Connections between The Black Dahlia and The Man Who Laughs.
- Brian's introductory post on Jujiro, giving a little background to why he researched the film and wrote the accompanying essay in the Festival's program. He followed that post up throughout the week --
- Jujiro in the West, a brief history of the film's reception, um, in the West.
- Teinosuke Kinugasa sources and links, about the director of Jujiro.
- The Benshi, notes on the Japanese tradition of narration in the silent cinema.
- And, a final sigh.
- NEW: Sean McCourt on The Unknown.
At Six Martinis and the Seventh Art:
- Notes on the opening night showcase, Kid Brother.
- A round up post with capsule-sized remarks of Shahn's screenings.
- A look at the beginning of Soul of Youth.
At Dan's Movie Blog:
Outside the Bay, Girish and Darren have logged some posts. Go read them. Girish has a more general overview with a few nuggets of recap while Darren looks at Tod Browning's The Unknown.
Tonight I'm off to the PFA to catch Nicholas Ray's Bigger Than Life. It'll be my first Ray outside of Rebel Without A Cause and King of Kings. It doesn't sound like the cheeriest film (this weekend's offerings are quite the opposite of sunny, hence the Reygadas detour this morning), but it's not on Netflix, nor is it available on campus, so I gotsta go. One of the things the SFSFF really did for me was to reactivate my cinephilia. I may not be able to afford to attend everything I want to see in theatres but last weekend and yesterday's screening proved that watching movies big (and loud) in the dark is a lot different than at home with a lamp on and the internet calling out "Look at me!" I think it almost mandatory for any, um, true cinephile routine (to go along with Nathan Lee's list of other shit to do as well, like reading and eating and talking to people). And, maybe most important, it's a lot more fun.
* = That's the picture; that post is almost painful (chuckle) to read, but it still warms me.