Monday, March 21, 2011

Jason goes to SFIAAFF--Saturday, March 19

Okay, I've had a few days to rest up (read: do all my day job work that fell to the wayside during my three week film fest marathon), and now it's time to finish writing up the last films I saw over the weekend.

First up Friday was a delightful feature from China, PIANO IN A FACTORY. Chen is a musician, a loving father, an ex-steel worker, and a husband whose marriage is falling apart. His wife is leaving him for a guy who sells fake medicine. He doesn't care, he's through with her, divorce happens, and she can take whatever she wants...except their daughter. Turns out, that's all she wants. And she has the money to bribe he with nice toys, and he doesn't. He can't even pay for her piano lessons, and the fake cardboard piano he mocked up at home doesn't quite cut it (no matter how much he explains that Beethoven played the piano even though he was deaf). So finally, he gets a bunch of old steel-workers to open up the abandoned plant again and make a piano. Scrap wood for the frame, old wire for the strings...he's got the blueprints, what could go wrong. What ensues is comical, endearing, fanciful, surreal, and very non-traditionally musical. Oh yeah, and it's funny as hell. Lots of fun.

And then I caught the shorts program: Life, Interrupted.
LYCHEE THIEVES: A story of the brief, intense lychee season in Hawaii, and how some people go batshit crazy possessive over it.
MY NAME IS MOHAMMED: Mohammed is a 9 year old boy in an Iraqi refugee camp. Prematurely mature, since he has to buy his mom's medicine while watching after his little sister.
ROOM #11: Based on the closing of a low-rent apartment building in NY Chinatown, and the upheaval of the evictions around it.
MADE IN CHINA: A Shanghai punk rock documentary. American/UK licks on distinctly Chinese songs. Awesome.
PINK CHADDIS: A documentary about the violent 2009 attack on women in a pub in Mangalore (near Bangalore), India. The attackers were religious extremists defending the "Hindu-ness" of India. In response, a non-violent campaign started to send them pink underwear with messages on them. I'll try to put this as nicely as possible. I'm not one to reflexively judge other cultures, and I'm sure the Hindu religion and the vast majority of its practitioners are wonderful, peaceful, loving people. But men who think it's appropriate to beat women (especially in public, and especially in the name of religious or cultural purity) should be raped up the ass with a splintering stick until they bleed to death. Yeah...that was as nicely as possible.

And that was my Saturday at SFIAAFF. I didn't stick around for the late movies because I had to go watch the San Jose Earthquakes open the season with a soaking wet, horribly refereed, frustrating 1-0 loss even though they outplayed their opponents. I was one of the few who stuck with it until the end, and although the result was frustrating it was good to see my soccer family again.

Total Running Time: 186 minutes
My Total Minutes: 229,722

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