Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jason goes to SFJFF--Day 5

Catching up after falling over a week moth behind. I have a whole week's worth of Jewfest films to tell you about.

Let's start with THE GO-GO BOYS: THE INSIDE STORY OF CANNON FILMS. Life is full of weird coincidences sometimes. I hadn't thought about legendary 80s (mostly) low-budget (mostly) action studio Cannon Films in years, and now I've seen two documentaries about them just a few months apart. The first one, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS, I saw at SFIFF, and was an exhaustive look at the studios prolific output, novel business model (quantity over quality, give the directors freedom but no money, and one big hit can sustain you for another year or two) and reasons behind its eventual failure (straying from that model.) And behind it all were two men--Menahem Goran and Yoram Globus, but ELECTRIC BOOGALOO didn't go into much detail about the men, other than that they were the Israeli brains behind it all. So THE GO-GO BOYS makes a perfect pairing, and I think I saw them in the right order--celebrate the movies first, then learn about the guys who made them. Their origins as Israeli filmmakers (starting out with Chaim Topol's SALLAH SHABATI) their relationship, their contrasting personalities that both made them huge players and eventually led to their parting ways. And this film even features interviews with both of them, before Golan sadly passed away just...wow, a year ago tomorrow (Globus, well into his 70s, is still producing films in Israel.) Pretty cool, and if there's any studio that deserved two documentaries about it in 2015, it had to be Cannon.

And then MANPOWER, a multi-layered slice-of-life of working class (sometimes illegal foreign workers) men in Israel. Focusing on Meir, a police officer with a stellar record who is put in charge of a special operation targeting foreign workers. One of those workers is a Nigerian housecleaner who works hard and stays out of trouble, but still risks deportation. Other stories intersect, and I'm sorry I didn't write this right away because I forget a lot of the details. But with sensitivity and humor it showcases the struggles of many different working class people just trying to live a little bit of a good life.

Total Running Time: 177 minutes
My Total Minutes: 404,693
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