San Francisco Film Festival 2004

Back to 2004 films

Film reviews

Raoul Ruiz: That Day (2003)

Click here for the review

Per Fly: Arven/ Inheritance (2003)

Click here for the review

Tsai Ming-Liang: Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003)

Click here for the review

??: Investigations Into the Invisible World (2003)
(Reviewed By Rodney Leng)

Who would have known that the otherworldly Iceland has a healthy population of elves, trolls and gnomes hidden away in the rocks? The eerily paced documentary chronicles testimonies from a plethora of citizens from children, clairvoyances, to public officials with historic news footage that offer compelling evidence that things unseen are amiss in this strange island where tectonic plates meet and clash deep below.
Viewers are left to ponder other strange phenomenas such as ghosts, extraterrestrials and sea monsters that makes Iceland the ideal vacation destination for Roswell, New Mexico residents. Not meant to be tongue-in-cheek, the plight of acknowledgement of "hidden people" will be an on-going debate until there is actual photographic evidence or one decides to grants an interview. Keep holding your breaths!

Jorge Furtado: The Man Who Copied (2003)
(Reviewed By Rodney Leng)

One of the darlings of the San Francisco Film Festival offerings is Jorge Furtado's Brazilian highly polished comedic gem "The Man Who Copied" a story about André, played by the wonderful Lázaro Ramos, a poor young aspiring cartoonist who operates a photocopier and falls in love with his neighbor who he spies from his room with binoculars at night.

André's life is mundane until he musters his courage to follow his neighbor Silvia to her workplace and realizes he needs money to help him woo Silvia but not in the obvious ways you would think.

Marinłs played by Luana Piovani is André's breathtaking co-worker and Cardoso, played by Pedro Cardoso round out a wonderful comedic supporting roles in this stylish, stylish tour-de-force that deftly blends collages of animation, split screens, comedy, drama, romance and romance.

The subject of violence and revenge is touched upon here and offers to satisfy closure for some messy situations the clever story had gotten itself into which I found to be all too convenient and out of character with the film.

The ending takes a storyline twist from the French film "He Loves Me_He Loves Me Not" by Laetitia Colombani, as a way to give Silvia's side the events and concludes with a Hollywood-esque happy ending.

City of God showed the brutal and harsh life of children within the favela and here in The Man Who Copied we see hope and a future for the youth although the means to achieve them is no less ideal in escaping poverty in Brazil.

??: L'Esquive (2003)
(Reviewed By Rodney Leng)

On the outskirts of Paris, the cold, gray concrete apartment complexes are the turf of tough immigrant youths yet Krimo, a soft spoken 15 year old kid, has just broken up with his girlfriend now has a crush for his classmate and "homey", Lydia who is rehearsing her lines for the school play of Marivaux's "A Game of Love and Chance" setting the stage for his arduous pursuit for Lydia's affection and the turmoil within the circle of friends.

Despite all the actors were amateur actors shot on location with a video camera and for the most part the acting was convincing and effective however Krimo, played by Osman Elkharraz, was unemotional throughout the film even when taking the role of being love interest in the play opposite to Lydia, who he bribed his friend Rachid to get his spot in order to be near Lydia, the exasperated teacher chastises Krimo to be more emotional without success. Sara Forestier who plays Lydia is a strong presence in the film as are her "homies" Frida and Nanou. Osman's lackluster performance undermines a good story of life in the tough ethnic neighborhood where kids are in gangs and loyalty to your homies is everything.

Much of the camerawork was handheld where it wasn't necessary to do so and added instead of realism, the film came off as feeling more amateurish.

Jim Jarmusch: Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
(Reviewed By Rodney Leng)

What would it be like to see actors or musicians not in some role but as themselves having a drink or a smoke chatting away in a café?
An idea that didn't escape Jim Jarmesh's mind in his latest film aptly named "Coffee and Cigarettes".
In a series of short vignettes filmed in black and white, the comedic conversations are as much about the topics which include two fellow actors discovering they are distant cousins, two old janitors comparing Paris in the twenties to New York City in the late seventies, to mundane conversations over a cup of coffee and cigarettes to the downright oddity of demonstrating a Tesla Coil.
For some of the less interesting stories, the actors playing themselves are the only interesting aspect of the story. The dialogue mirrors the natural ebbs and flows of conversation with all the boring bits which draws the audience into this world of glam-less diners and cafes.
In the vignette "Cousins", Cate(Cate Blanchett) plays both herself and her cousin(Shelly) at a posh hotel lobby meeting where Cate finally catches up with her punk band jealous cousin.
Other than a few senseless stories, the shining ones makes this film a worthwhile visit having several returning Jarmesh alumni actors such as GZA & RZA, Roberto Begnini, the charming "ice cream man" Issach de Bankolé to carryon the adoration of Jarmesh's off-beat films.
Festival's website

The Masters

Carlos Diegues: God is Brazilian (2003)
Jim Jarmusch: Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa: Doppelganger (2003)
Tsai Ming-Liang: Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003)
Eric Rohmer: Triple Agent (2004)
Raoul Ruiz: That Day (2003)


Christoffer Boe: Reconstruction (2003)
Per Fly: Arven/ Inheritance (2003)
Jang Jun-Hwan: Save the Green Planet (2003)
Merzak Allouache: Chouchou (2003)
Arnaud Desplechin: Dans la Compagnie des Hommes/ In The Company of Men (2003)
Pen-ek Ratanaruang: Last Life in the Universe (2003)
Martin Rejtman: Los Guantes Magicos/ Magic Gloves (2003)
Bong Joon-Ho: Memories of Murder (2003)
Eugene Martin: Other America The (2004)
Guy Maddin: Saddest Music in the World The (2003)