Goodbye Dragon Inn (Bu Jian Bu San)

File Under: Synopsis & Review

Tsai Ming-liang directs this story about the death of cinema. Slow-paced and lushly filmed, the story follows the inhabitants of a movie theatre on the last night before the closure of a Taipei movie theatre.

As a young man sits in the theatre he notices that two older men sitting in the audience are the same men who are on the screen in Dragon Gate Inn. Two co-workers try to make a connection, a young loud chomping girl taunts a man as she watches the movie. Moments like these are layered as past, present, and future interact in this romantic eulogy for a dying era.

Sometimes Roger Garcia just gets it so right. Come prepared for the pace of slow mourning.


Some Kind of Monster

File Under: Synopsis & Review

On Sunday, 18 April a bunch of the NAATA staff went to see the Metallica documentary: Some Kind of Monster. It was pretty good. If you're a music fan or doc. fan you can find something compelling here.

The doc. follows the band as they gear up to record St. Anger (2004). After 22 years, the band is in serious need of some overhaul and therapy. They hire a therapist, a type of "life coach" to help them deal with each other as they record the album. The film is at turns funny, frustrating, and almost but not-quite heart wrenching.

In the same way that Bernard Sumner came out looking good in 24 Hour Party People - Kirk Hammett comes out looking the best in Some Kind of Monster. He doesn't seem as self-focused as Ulrich or Hetfield and when no one is talking to each other they are still talking to Hammett.

The piece will get wide release in San Francisco in July 2004, so check it out then.


Opening Night at the SFIFF

File Under: Reconnaissance

Last night we all went to the SFIFF Opening Night screening and party.

The movie was Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes - an exceptional movie that showed the awkwardness of interacting individuals as they struggled to find these commonalities - usually finding it in sharing these two (little) vices.

It was weird to assess what the SFIFF did vs. what we did at the SFIAAFF. I had never looked at a film festival with such a critical eye - "Oh look they give away bottles of SKYY vodka in giftbags." (Not worrying about possibly contributing to the delinquency of minors.)

Our job that evening (everytime we go to a Film Festival) was to try to see how we could improve the SFIAAFF. We also schmoozed a bit with fellow industry people and a little bit more with those who were affiliated with the SFIAAFF in some way shape or form. Ah, congregation at these events!

Generally a good time was had by all. [Really - I took a poll.:-)]



Now in theatres! Shaolin Soccer and soon Robot Stories (starring Tamlyn Tomita)...

It feels good to get heaping spoonfuls of good cinema.