SFIFF Spotlights #1: Ernest & Celestine / Key of Life / Leviathan / Much Ado About Nothing

by Chad Liffmann on April 30, 2013

The 56th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) is in full swing.  From April 26th through May 9th, Bay Area cinephiles, filmmakers, and movie lovers of all ages can visit select theaters on either side of the bay to see exciting new films from all over the world.

Here at Spinning Platters, we’ll shine our spotlights on a few films we’ve had the pleasure of seeing and other festival events we’ve had the pleasure of attending.  We encourage you to follow along and also visit the SFIFF website at http://festival.sffs.org/ to learn more about upcoming screenings!

Ernest & Celestine
(France/Luxembourg/Belgium 2012, 80 min)

Ernest & Celestine

Ernest & Celestine

The unlikely friendship between a hungry street-busking bear and a spirited young mouse takes center stage in this delightful French animated film.  Based on the series of children’s books (which I haven’t read but now intend to), Ernest & Celestine is a charming story about friendship told through excellent voice work, a great musical score, and beautifully painted images.  I was smiling all the way through.  This is a title you shouldn’t miss!

Next Showing:
Wed., May 1st at 7:00PM – Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Key of Life
(Japan 2012, 128 min)

Teruyuki Kagawa and Ryoko Hirosue in Key of Life

Teruyuki Kagawa and Ryoko Hirosue in Key of Life

It’s marvelous fun to follow the story of a hitman and a depressed actor who switch identities in this dark comedy from director Kenji Uchida.  Key of Life explores the (normally dramatic) power of identity and love, but interestingly through a quirky and often times hilarious turn of events that kept me guessing.  The acting is superb across the board and the script is quick-witted and unique.

Next Showing:
Wed., May 1st at 6:00PM – Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Leviathan
(France/England/USA 2012, 87 min)

Leviathan

Leviathan

It’s hard to describe Leviathan, the new experimental documentary by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel.  I couldn’t imagine that such a mix of odd perspectives, unabashed long edits, and no music or barely a word of dialogue could create such a memorable look at fishermen laboring off the coast of Massachussetts.  It’s not a subject one normally thinks about, but this meditative piece of filmmaking gets in your head and raises a lot of questions.

Much Ado About Nothing
(USA 2012, 109 min)

Fran Kranz in Much Ado About Nothing

Fran Kranz in Much Ado About Nothing

“Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.”  Joss Whedon’s modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s most celebrated comedy hits every mark and traps you in its charm, which isn’t a bad thing.  Using the original words penned by The Bard, Whedon employs black and white photography and a familiar cast (mostly to Whedonites, including myself) to transport to screen this playful yet darkly undertoned story of fools in love, relationships, gender roles, trickery, and sexuality.

 

 

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