San Francisco International Film Festival (Picks)


The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) kicks off tonight (April 21-May 5, 2011).  Here are my picks!

13 Assassins:  This is the latest from Takashi Miike.  He is on the list of my top 5 all time favorite film makers. So of course I loved it.  It is a classic Samurai movie with all the standard themes, a profound and full hearted willingness to die, the collapse of honor, incomprehensible cruelty, and explosively visceral nowness.  What is most notable about this film is the incredible integration of many different choreographic styles of fighting.  Watch the trailers here! (Japan 2010)

End Of Animal:  Directed by Jo Sung-hee.   Super weird slow pace that still manages to keep your attention.  No music but a great soundtrack.  This is another "what genre am I watching?" style film from South Korea, I'm a fan.  Darkness and otherworldly powers do creep in.  (South Korea 2010)

The High Life:  Directed by Zhao Dayong.  This film is an interesting piece of art; as entertainment it moves slowly.  A man trained in Chinese Opera makes his ghostly living as a hustler.  A jail guard forces all the inmates to read his published works of poetry.  Readers of this blog will see an implicit undertone of exorcism.  I read an interview with the director online in which he downplays the significance of censorship; wouldn't you?  (China 2010)

Those are the ones I've seen, here are the ones I want to see:

The Journals Of Musan:  Directed by Park Jung-bum about a North Korean refugee. (South Korea 2010)

Outrage:  Directed by Takeshi Kitano.  Yakuza!   Need I say more?  (Japan 2010)

Stake Land:  Directed by Jim Mickle.  Vampire zombies?  In my book, if movies are rated on a scale from 1 to 10, all horror movies start with an automatic 5 points from which they can only improve.  (USA 2010)

The Stool Pigeon:  Directed by Dante Lam.  Crime thriller. (Hong Kong/China 2010)

The Troll Hunter:  Directed by Andre Ovredal.  Good title, right? (Norway 2010)

For times and locations everything is right here!