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SFIFF 55 Reviews: 'Goodbye,' 'Robot & Frank,' 'How to Survive a Plague,' 'Fourth Dimension'

Festivals
by Meredith Brody
April 22, 2012 3:52 PM
2 Comments
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All day I have been looking forward to seeing “Wu Xia” (aka “Dragon”): two hours of martial arts set in 1917, although from a Chinese director, Peter Ho-sun Chan, of whose varied output I’ve seen “Comrades: Almost a Love Story,” and the American “ The Love Letter,”  romantic comedies, neither of which demonstrate the skill set of an action director. But it’s said to have broken box office records in China, where they know a thing or two about action movies. (Ou sont les Hong Kong films d’antan?)

But reality sets it: it’s not due to start for an hour, and I can walk right in to documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” which is about the political group ACT UP and how its actions influenced the creation of the drug cocktails that turned AIDS from a death sentence into a somewhat manageable disease.

Footage from the 80s and 90s (i.e. before cellphone video) and contemporary talking-heads interviews with many of the protagonists has been skillfully assembled into a moving narrative of the power of activism. I only quibble with the film’s end credits, which might lead the viewer to think that the AIDS drug cocktail has saved the world from the scourge of the virus: the 6,000,000 alive because of protease inhibitors are highlighted, rather than the many more millions who do not have access to the drugs. They’ve erred on the side of triumph. Even Larry Kramer, whose angry letter mentioning “at least 75 million infections and 35 million deaths” was handed out outside the theater when I saw the revival of his “The Normal Heart” in NY last year, seems uncharacteristically warm and cuddly in his closing onscreen moments.

The Q-and-A is long and involving. I finally exit the theater at the same time as the audience of “Wu Xia” (easily identifiable by the martial arts moves they’re trying out on each other).

So much for trying to be pragmatic. Ah well. I can see “Wu Xia” on Monday afternoon.
 

2 Comments

  • Goodbye | June 14, 2012 12:07 AMReply

    so its a story of a young lawyer in Tehran in search of a visa to leave Iran... incidentally this is what, Mohammad Rasoulof did during the winter of 2010-11 :) Seems like a good watch. David Fear from Time Out New York is quoted as saying: Good Bye is "easily one of the best things I've seen at the fest, and the joy of seeing such a strong work here is only offset by the depressing fact that this gesture of dissent is being screened without its creator present."
    For those who have watched, Goodbye reminds one of the Pawnbroker (1964). One of the favorite goodbye quotes Don't be dismayed at goodbyes, a farewell is necessary before you can meet again and meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. This quote is one of the nicest silver linings and hope at the sad moments of goodbye.

  • Goodbye | June 14, 2012 12:08 AM

    Well, should have mentioned, but the source of the above quote is: http://goodbyequotes.info

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