Friday, April 30, 2010

Jason goes to SFIFF--Day 8

2 more movies last Thursday, on my first (and maybe only) night at the PFA. Simple reason that I've gone to the Kabuki for most shows--the festival lounge (and free happy hour beer) is there.

But you couldn't keep me away from the PFA and a chance to see the restored print of Luchino Visconti's SENSO. I'm a fan of film restoration in general, and adore the look of 3 strip Technicolor, and a chance to see a restored master work (that originally played at SFIFF well before my time) was too much to pass up. And it totally delivers. It's a vibrant, passionate love/lust story set during Garibaldi's war of Independence in the 1860's. It's a scandalously adulterous affair between a fiercely nationalist Italian Countess and an apolitical soldier in the occupying Austrian army. At first she approaches him to prevent a duel between him and her even more partisan cousin, but soon his reputation with the ladies is shown to be entirely deserved. Unfortunately, there's a war. And more unfortunately, his reputation is more than just deserved. And so, as in all thing love and/or war, people get badly hurt. The film beautifully colored (the Italian flag features the reddest reds, whitest whites, and greenest greens I've ever seen--enough to almost turn me partisan even without a drop of Italian blood in me)

And then I stayed at the PFA for WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER. An odd Malaysian film set in a tiny little fishing village. Warning: much of the film shows graphic processing of seafood. Most is no big deal, but there is a scene early on when the hero cuts the head off a live frog with a pair of scissors (and in a later scene, several goats are burnt in a bonfire). That hero is Ah-fei, and he sells frogs as food. He's got a sorta-girlfriend, but she says she can't marry him until he makes enough money, or at least writes her a poem. One day coming home he rescues an old woman stuck in the mud. Out of gratitude they invite him and his father to a meal, which turns out is all a setup to get him to meet their daughter (unclear whether getting stuck in the mud was part of the plot or if the old woman just does it habitually). Meanwhile, his father is nearing the end of his life, and decides to try to hook up with the proverbial 'one that got away.' Beautiful in an entirely different way, and fascinating for it's contrast between the shy manner in which matters of love are handled and the brutal, direct manner in which the slaughter of animals is handled (and shot).

And that was Thursday. About time to start another big weekend.

Total Running Time: 215 minutes
My Total Minutes: 183,238

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