Sunday, May 07, 2006

San Francisco Wrapup

A couple of other films I caught in San Francisco have potential as REVELATIONS titles. Stanley Nelson’s new film Jonestown recounts the descent of a seemingly enlightened, integrated church and its minister into isolation and suicide. I can’t say that Jonestown helped me understand Jim Jones, although I understood more about the utopian vision that attracted his followers. Aleksandr Sokurov’s The Sun also showed an all-powerful leader, Emperor Hirohito, whose religious authority led many to their deaths. However, this Sun God had the sense, for his defeated country’s sake, to renounce his divinity; the multidimensional performance by Issei Ogata paints an unforgettable portrait of a pathetically oblivious and yet strangely admirable leader. This is the most accessible Sokurov film I’ve ever seen, and I hope it gets an American release.

Other favorites in San Francisco: Taking Father Home (to which our jury gave the SKYY Prize), Half Nelson (our honorable mention), Backstage, Look Both Ways, Play, and Wide Awake.
Back here in Charlottesville, I’m looking forward to the last Film Society screening of the season, Shakespeare Behind Bars, which shows on Tuesday at 7pm at Vinegar Hill Theater. The film’s gotten award after award at film festivals.

Now that I’ve finished teaching my spring semester class, I can turn to the huge pileup of tapes that have been submitted for consideration. Hopefully, I’ll find some gems, and report back here.


Anonymous Luc said...

Richard, coming back to Montreal, I remembered "The Ascent" (Voskhozhdeniye),1976 by Larissa Shepitko, USSR, 105 minutes which won the Berlin Golden Bear, the Fipresci and the Catholic awards at Berlin in 1977 which must not have happened often especially for an Eastern block film. Regarding the double bill "I Confess" and "Jésus de Montréal", Gilles Pelletier who plays a vicar in the first and a canon in the second is still alert at 81.
He is also in "The 13th Letter". Regarding this movie, do you know whom I can contact about Preminger's archives either at the WGA or elsewhere regarding the screenplay ad its link to Clouzot's "Corbeau" original?

Luc from Montreal []

11:00 AM  

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