Friday, April 29, 2016

Jason goes to SFIFF--Day 6

A couple more movies on Tuesday, both at the gorgeous Victoria Theatre.

SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU is the story of a first "date" (or non-date, depending on who you believe) between a young Chicago legal associate and her summer intern. She's afraid he might just be another "smooth-talking brother." And definitely afraid that anything other than a professional relationship would doom her reputation at the firm. But he invited her to a community meeting, and she used to do a lot of that kind of stuff before getting into trademark law, and she is interested in getting back into it--purely professionally. But...he is kind of a smooth brother, having planned to pick her up several hours before the meeting, take her to an afro-centric art exhibit, buy her lunch at the park, etc. Basically spend a day with her, whether or not she calls it a date. And it's really sweet to see their tentative friendship kind of blossom into a mutual acknowledgment of attraction...whether anything can actually happen or not. It's also really charming to see history happen, in a way that those involved don't know it's history. Oh, I think I forgot to mention that her name is Michelle Robinson, and he's her future husband...Barack Obama. A few times the movie gets a little too cute for its own good, when they speculate on the possibilities that he might be interested in getting into politics. But overall, it was beautiful and reminded me how certain I am that their relationship is a big part of their mutual success. I am absolutely convinced that Michelle and Barack have the kind of partnership that makes both of them better, both in their work and as human beings.

And then a change of pace, with THE APOSTATE, a Spanish film about a young philosophy student (actually, he's failing philosophy) Gonzalo Tomayo (co-writer Álvaro Ogalla.) He's a stubborn young man, and decides that one thing he needs to do is leave the Catholic Church. But not just leave it, he needs to make it official. He needs to apostatize. And he needs his baptismal record removed. Well, the Catholic Church is equally stubborn, and a great deal of the movie is over whether the baptism record is a historical record (i.e., can't be changed) or is a database entry (i.e., can be updated, annotated, or even deleted.) This becomes a kind of proxy war for everything else in his life. Failing philosophy? Fight the Church! Arguing with your mother? Go fight the Church! Have a complicated love life? Fight the Church! It becomes a bit surreal and bizarre what lengths he will go to in his fight, and what lengths the Church goes to stop him. But he's a likeable, funny character, so seeing him tilt at his own special windmills is quite a lot of fun.

Total Running Time: 160 minutes
My Total Minutes: 427,271

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