Saturday, August 30, 2008

1 out of 8 Indie Films in SF and a Few Nazi and Stalin Era Films in Telluride

In the August 24 edition of the Pink Section, the Chronicle had an article titled 8 Best Indie Films That You Haven't Seen Yet.

I'm sad to say that I've only seen one film on the list. That would be Shotgun Stories, the opening night film at this year's IndieFest. I'm familiar with the other seven:

Chop Shop
Frozen River
Garden Party
Son of Rambow
War Inc.

Son of Rambow had a limited release in May. It looked kind of silly so I passed on it. I'm surprised that War Inc. made the list since the Little Man was asleep in his seat.

Baghead is the one I'm most familiar with and wish I saw. I believe it played at the Lumiere earlier this month. It's a thoughtful spoof of the "cabin in the woods" horror genre.

Frozen River is currently playing at the Opera Plaza.

Teeth is the perfect companion film to The Secret Life of Sarah Sheldon which I saw at last year's Dead Channels. Vagina Dentata meets The Penis Monster.

I would add a few more films to my list of "independent films" currently in release. I use the term loosely because I don't know what the financing arrangements for these films are. Actually, the Landmark Theaters film listing is a good indicator of independent films that have created a buzz and gotten some limited distribution. Speaking of Landmark, why don't they put their films in the SF Chronicle film listings?

The following films are playing at Landmark Theaters in SF:

A Jihad for Love
Roman de Gare
Bottle Shock
Man on Wire

The Landmark Theaters in SF are the Lumiere, the Opera Plaza , the Clay, the Bridge and Embarcadero Center.


I'd like to recognize Gary Meyer. Gary is the owner of the Balboa Theater in SF. For a few years, Gary tried to make the Balboa a modern day rep house. It was my favorite theater for a period of 1 to 2 years. I saw a great Samurai film festival there as well as a Boris Karloff Retrospective. In addition, Gary founded or co-founded Landmark Theaters although I believe he sold it to some corporate entity.

More recently, Gary was named the festival director at the Telluride Film Festival. The festival runs this weekend, August 29 to September 1. I've never been to Telluride. It's some skiing resort in the Colorado mountains. I associate it with hippies in the past and something akin to a poor man's Vail now. I have no idea if this is reality or my misconception.

I recall a series of television commercials in my youth somehow associating Coors Beer with Telluride. I recall there being some home movie type footage of guys sledding or something. What was the story with Coors Beer being outlawed in several states? Wasn't the premise of Smokey and the Bandit or Cannonball Run (or some ripoff film) smuggling Coors into a state which it was banned?

Rather than continuing to show my ignorance about Colorado history & demographics, I will say that perusing the Telluride Film Festival program makes me wish I has gone out there this weekend. I hope Gary can convince someone to screen a few of these in the Bay Area.

The Fall of Berlin - produced in the Soviet Union; (1949)
The Last Command - directed by Josef von Sternberg; (1928)
Lola Montès - directed by Max Ophüls; (1955)
The Great Sacrifice - "the supreme achievement of the Nazi melodrama;" (1944)
Waltz with Bashir - Israeli animation on Palestinian refugee camp atrocities; (2008)

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