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Thompson on Hollywood

SFIFF 54 Day Eight: The Redemption of General Butt Naked, Sound of Noise, Pink Saris, Master Critic

San Francisco cinephile Meredith Brody continues to cut a swath through the SFIFF programme: Cheerful way to start the day: watching a famed “General” of the unbelievably brutal 14-year Liberian civil war, known as General Butt Naked for the attire (or lack thereof) of himself and his followers, metamorphize – or is it re-brand? – into Joshua Milton Biahyi, an evangelic preacher seeking forgiveness for his unspeakable crimes. I’m not much fonder of organized (or disorganized) religion than I am of war – noting in passing that many wars are fought on religious grounds. I’m repulsed by both of the General’s incarnations. What I think he’s mostly seeking is airtime, not redemption as in the movie’s title The Redemption of General Butt Naked. He’s playing to the cameras that I kind of wish were not following him around, despite the effectiveness and skill of the filmmakers. Even his mea culpa before the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which might recommend his later prosecution for war crimes, smacks of hunger for the spotlight –“I Was Responsible for 20,000 Deaths” – longer time on the 15-minute clock. Once a patholgical narcissist, always a pathological narcissist.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 30, 2011 5:49 AM
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Weekly Wrap: SFIFF, Cannes, Must See Summer Box Office, Casting Updates, Celebs Sell, Brad Pitt

BOX OFFICE & UPCOMING
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • April 29, 2011 8:15 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Seven: A Useful Life, Oliver Stone Tribute, The Last Buffalo Hunt, Attenberg

Meredith Brody's diary entry for SDIFF day seven: The film-going day begins with inserting a DVD into the player, which I guess means staying rather than going. It’s A Useful Life, a film directed by a former employee of the Cinemateca Uruguaya, Federico Veiroj, about a longtime employee of the Cinemateca Uruguaya in Montevideo (which occasions a notation in the opening credits that the movie does not reflect the actual Cinemateca Uruguaya in any way shape or form). Said rather sad-sackish employee (played by an Uruguayan film critic with the young/old face of an obsessive) has spent a quarter-century doing all that’s necessary in showing films to the public – programming, introducing, talking on the radio, even repairing a seat in the theater.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 29, 2011 6:43 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Six: The Mill on the Cross, Hot Coffee, Hahaha, The Sleeping Beauty, Leonard Cohen

Meredith Brody reports on the latest festival screenings from San Francisco:
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 28, 2011 5:35 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Five: Time Travel, from Cave of Forgotten Dreams to Children of the Princess of Cleves

Meredith Brody reports on the latest festival screenings from San Francisco:The Frenchwoman who introduced Children of the Princess of Cleves gave us an invaluable bit of information that cast the film in an interesting light. President Nicolas Sarkozy said that reading the required “Princess of Cleves,” published in 1678, made no sense for a high school student who would be working as a cashier in two years. Many in France were incensed by the comment, big surprise -- as am I – wasn’t Sarkozy, despite a wealthy background, posited as “l’homme du people” when he ran for President? Here’s real-time news: when I Google Sarkozy, the news pops up that he and Carla Bruni are expecting their first child together – posted 13 minutes ago! I also learn that Sarkozy was a mediocre student, and had to go to a crammer to pass his baccalaureate, the exam that determines whether or not you can go on to college.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 27, 2011 3:02 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Four: Silent Souls, Crime After Crime, Christine Vachon vs. Miranda July

Meredith Brody dives into her fourth day of San Francisco screenings, starting with one of my favorite films from Venice, Silent Souls (pictured):Easter Sunday was never a big holiday in my book – mostly I look forward to the half-price chocolates available the day after. The darkened cinema is my favorite place of worship anyway.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 26, 2011 1:54 AM
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SFIFF Is First US Festival to Join Festival Scope, Online Viewing Platform for Industry Pros

The San Francisco International Film Festival is the first U.S. festival to join Festival Scope, the new Internet platform that enables festival selections to be screened to industry professionals worldwide. Other festivals already involved are Cannes' Directors' Fortnight and Semaine de la Critique, the Berlinale, Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinéma and festivals in Rotterdam, Locarno, Melbourne, Guadalajara, Valdivia and Cartagena.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 25, 2011 4:27 AM
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SFIFF: Christine Vachon State of Cinema Keynote: How Can Filmmakers Reach Audiences?

The veteran Killer Films producer and Shooting to Kill author Christine Vachon (Boys Don't Cry, Far from Heaven, Mildred Pierce) gave the San Francisco International Film Festival's keynote speech on April 24. Here it is:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 25, 2011 3:58 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Three: The Colors of the Mountain, Year Without a Summer, Le Quattro Volte

Meredith Brody continues her SFIFF diary, day three:I rush along Fillmore to slip into a 1 p.m. screening of The Colors of the Mountain, too late today to do anything but grab three samosas for $5, so greasy that they turn their paper sack transparent before I reach the theater. Three is more than I need or want, but I’ll be able to turn to someone later today and say “Would you like a samosa?,” a treat unavailable at the movies since the lamentable closure last year of the delightful Bollywood palace the Naz 8 across the bay in Fremont.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 25, 2011 1:38 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Two: Movies Directed by Women, Miss Representation, The Good Life, Meek's Cutoff

San Francisco TOH corespondent Meredith Brody continues her daily diary from the The San Francisco International Film Festival:If you’re one of the all-access-pass members of a film festival audience, intent on seeing as many movies during its brief annual flowering as possible, one of your main goals is avoiding the fate of the woman who sat in front of me on opening night.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 23, 2011 8:37 AM
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