Spinning Platters is slowly but surely completing its coverage of the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival. Alas, SFIFF59 ended two nights ago, but we’re here to keep providing you spotlights on little known films that may come to a theater near you in the foreseeable future — so here’s a quick glimpse at four more features!
(USA, 2015, 119 min, Added Programs)
Dark and satirical, romantic and visceral, The Lobster is a bizarre piece of thought-provoking cinema from Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos. Colin Farrell plays a recently single man who checks into a “center” of sorts that focuses on matching romantic couples together — and the ones that don’t succeed in finding love get turned into animals. This peculiar premise and all of its intricacies are treated with extreme informality. The most brilliant aspect of The Lobster is that at the heart of all the odd characters (including top notch performances from John C Reilly, Rachel Weisz, and Ben Whishaw) and morbidly humorous absurdities is a uniquely human story that connects to our innermost societal fears, anxieties, and emotions.
The Lobster will be in Bay Area theaters May 20th.
(USA, 2016, 84 min, Global Visions)
You may not know him by name – Hampton Fancher – but you may be familiar with a few of his acting and writing credits — acted in Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Other Side of the Mountain and wrote the screenplay for Blade Runner. He was romantically involved with Teri Garr, Sue Lyon, and Barbara Hershey. Michael Almereyda’s inventive biographical doc about Fancher is a fascinating look at a Hollywood insider whose adventures in and out of the Hollywood scene is too unbelievable to…well, believe. Near death experiences, abnormal encounters with members of the Hollywood elite, and romantic flings make up the bulk of Fancher’s single take “talking head” storytelling, all of which add up as an interesting portrait of a man most known for writing a film based on a book he “didn’t really like.”
The Islands and the Whales
(Scotland/Denmark, 2015, 81 min, Global Visions)
A heavy mist blankets the Faroe Islands in the opening images of this gorgeously shot documentary about the small fishing communities that are being threatened by growing mercury levels in their food supply and pressure from global entities regarding their whaling traditions. Director Mike Day keeps the viewpoint objective as we hear from numerous members of the community. Though the camera doesn’t budge when pilot whales and gulls are being killed, the film does an excellent job of providing context for the importance of these (arguably) primitive practices, which are both generations-old traditions and vital to the community’s survival.
Ayiti Mon Amour
(Haiti/USA, 2016, 88 min, Vanguard)
Combining moments of narrative magical realism with real life documentary footage, Ayiti Mon Amour is an eclectic and poetic look at post-earthquake Haiti. With love for their homes and lost ones as the epicenter of all the voices on display, we’re treated to gorgeously shot tragicomedies including a teenager who’s body becomes a source of electricity for his village, and an elderly fisherman who talks to his cows. Director Guetty Felin, with the aid of cinematographer Hervé Cohen, convey the spirit of what was lost in images of submerged drifting clothing and cracked structures. It’s beautiful and tragic, yet filled to the brim with heart.