Showing posts from January, 2013

56 Up - Movie Review

Monica Sullivan Imagine that you started grade school with some really cute kids almost half a century ago.  Over the years, at regular intervals, the kids kept you up to date on their lives: they stopped being cute in their teens, they got married, they had kids, they got divorced, they got back together again or they fell for someone else.  Their parents got sick and/or died, they changed professions, they lost their confidence, they cheated on their spouses and everyone including the kids and grandkids were furious about it.  All these details, unredeemed by insight or literary shadings, are the foundations of gossip. I loved "28 Up" when it came out.  It was directed by Michael Apted when he was 42 and his impressions of the kids were very different.  He’s 71 now and rightfully proud of the series despite the inevitable law of diminishing returns.  A 56 year old pensioner is just not as gripping as kids and young adults with their entire futures ahead of them.  If you

The Rabbi's Cat - review

By Purple The Rabbi's Cat which opens this Friday at Landmark's Embarcadero cinema in San Francisco,  offers an eye-pleasing cinematic escape to enjoy as we embark into the new year.  The Rabbi's Cat is a French film, with English subtitles, and is based on a graphic novel created by the writer and co-director Joann Sfar who blends mediums to deliver the Rabbi's Cat to the screen. The printed material translates well, and the leap from panels on pages into its animated counterpart is remarkable. The Rabbi's Cat stays true to its origins as the hand drawn look and feel occasionally layered onto 3D models adds a nice sophistication and depth to the scenes. The film is set in Algiers in the 1930's and is told from the perspective of an unnamed feline, who develops the ability to talk with humans after a house pet parrot suspiciously goes missing under the cats watchful eye.  As someone with cat-brain myself, I can verify that The Rabbi's Cat does an excel

Oscar Submissions for Best Foreign Language Films in San Rafael

By Moira Sullivan Rachel Mwanza (center) ,  best actress at Berlin Film Festival It’s Oscar deliberation time and the 10th Annual "For Your Consideration: a Selection of Oscar Submissions from around the World" will be featured in an exclusive San Francisco Bay Area series of 14 films from 14 countries for the 2012 Best Foreign Language Film.  Of 71 films sent to the Academy as the best film of each country, this special event has selected some of the best of the competition. The event will be held Jan 11 - 17, 2013 at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, CA. I have seen three of the contenders, two of which have made the short list: The first is ‘War Witch’ (Rebelle) by Kim Nguyen from Canada It is the story of a 12-year-old girl who is abducted by a rebel army. Two years later she is with child from the commander who believes she has special powers and knows when the enemy is near. For this she is called a witch. Rachel Mwanza won the Silver Bear for

Luis Buñuel's Tristana at Opera Plaza

By Moira Sullivan Fernando Rey and Catherine Deneuve in 'Tristana' Luis Buñuel's   Tristana is a classic film made in 1970 that helped make Catherine Deneuve one of the best paid and most mythologized actresses in the world. But for her character she has to endure being molested by her guardian, her mother’s husband, Don Lope Garrido ( Fernando Rey ) who is 25 years older than her. She  later becomes his common law wife. The film is beautifully made with magnificent art direction and a provocative script but it is hard to tune out the message of the film of the sexual bondage of this young woman. This is not the first time Deneuve played sexually twisted characters such as the film that made her famous,  also directed by  Luis Buñuel, about  the daytime prostitute called   Belle du Jour  in the film by the same name (1967); and a woman who is so disgusted by men that she winds up killing one who has fallen in love with her in Roman Polanski’s Repulsion from 19