Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jason goes to SFIFF--Day 4

So I've gotten off to a slow start this SFIFF. It will pick up, I promise. But Saturday I skipped the festival to cheer on my Quakes for the first time this year (and they got their first win of the year...coincidence?) And then for most of Sunday I was filling it at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.

So I only made it to one movie on Sunday, but at least I made it count by choosing a 4+ hour one (with no intermission,) Lav Diaz's NORTE: THE END OF HISTORY. Over the past few years, I've become quite a fan of 4+ hour movies, on the supposition that if someone makes a really long movie, and someone else thinks it's a good idea to show it, then it's usually pretty amazing. And while I'll confess to checking my watch several times throughout the film (it's a leisurely 4+ hours) I am still of the opinion that epic-length movies are awesome.

The story is loosely based on Dostoyevsky’s "Crime and Punishment" it's the story of a law school dropout having an existential crisis. It opens with him and his friends discussing philosophy and politics, and him going on a rant about the need to destroy all immorality. He...pretty much fails at that. So now I have to confess I had a bit to drink before the movie and struggled to stay away through the first 30 minutes, so details are hazy. But the point is he brutally murders a woman and her young daughter. But he's not even a suspect, the guy who owed her money and was fighting with her just hours before is...and he goes to jail for it. And he suffers in jail for a long time, while his wife struggles to make ends meet and his daughter grows up without a father. Meanwhile, that law student...he disappears for a while. Then reappears, tries to make things better (without actually...you know...confessing) before...I've gotten spoilery enough already. So let me pivot and say that the acting is great, and the running time...well, as I said it's a leisurely 4+ hours, but it doesn't feel bloated, it's just a long story that takes time to tell. And the cinematography is great. If I were up to another viewing, I think there are secrets to unlock by studying when the camera is static and when it moves--particularly when it flits over anonymous settings like a restless spirit.

Running Time: 250 minutes
My Total Minutes: 360,632

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