siff picks – part I siff picks – part II
siff officially ended last night. i slowed down towards the end of the festival, both with volunteering and viewing. but here are the last of batch of films i chose.
Leonard (Joshua Leonard, Humpday) is an L.A. filmmaker with big ideas but no clue about how to turn them into real projects. Nelson (co-director Sean Nelson) is his long-suffering best friend who humors Leonard, but never takes his grand plans seriously. Rather than work on a script, Leonard first focuses on landing bankable talent, namely an A-lister known as Gregg D (Ross Partridge, Baghead, The Off Hours). The only problem is, Gregg has just checked into Wingspan, an ultra-swanky, $10,000-a-week rehab clinic for substance abuse. In a stroke of demented genius, Leonard decides to fake a drug addiction, check himself into the clinic (using Nelson’s trust fund), befriend Gregg D, and become the next Oliver Stone. But once he’s inside Wingspan’s ridiculously cushy grounds, Leonard realizes that, in spite of his charade, perhaps he’s not that much different from the other patients. With a strong Northwest filmmaking pedigree, Treatment is not only a spot-on satire of Hollywood narcissism and phony celebrity rehab culture, but also a sobering study on the perils of ambition and obsession. Look for brilliant comic cameos by John Hodgman (The Daily Show), and musician Robyn Hitchcock, who also provides original music for the film. (source)
The digital revolution has changed the way artists, musicians, filmmakers, and writers create and share their art. Virtually unlimited creative opportunities have been unleashed, and with little more than a laptop and an internet connection, almost anyone can record a song, write a novel, or make a film, and then instantaneously share it with the world. Icelandic musician Olafur Arnalds went from making homemade digital compositions to performing with a full classical orchestra. Filmmaker Lena Dunham was able to make her award-winning film Tiny Furniture the way she envisioned thanks to new digital technologies. Best-selling author Seth Godin broke new ground when he decided to leave his publisher behind and give away his book for free online. Filmmakers David Dworsky and Victor Köhler talk with some of the digital era’s most influential creators and explore the burning questions underneath this vast cultural transformation. Is allowing new technology to subvert old business models really giving artists unprecedented freedom? Are the truly talented drowning in an ocean of mediocre content? And with everyone able to create, what defines art in the digital age? (source)
Join our side of animation superstars as they endeavor to show you to strange, new, and exciting visions in short film form. (source)
Anchored by the kind of tour-de-force performance that has made Gérard Depardieu an icon, Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern’s offbeat, affectionate, and frequently very funny road movie provides the hulking actor with his best role in years. He plays Serge (known as “Mammuth” to friends, after his rusting old motorcycle), first seen attending his retirement party at the local pork slaughterhouse. An honest and genuine guy—if not exactly an intellectual heavyweight—Serge finds himself at loose ends now that his working life is over, and it is his wife Catherine (the superb Yolande Moreau) who suggests he seek out his old employers in order to get all his pension-application paperwork in order. Out comes the motorbike, and off scoots Serge on an adventure that will see him cross paths with con artists, his kooky relatives, some hilariously officious bureaucrats—and the ghost of his first love, as embodied by Isabelle Adjani. Delépine and de Kervern underscore the laughs with an unsentimental thread of genuine emotion throughout and then they do the smart thing: they let Depardieu take over. His Serge is one of the most unforgettable characters ever on film. (source)