Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jonathan Kiefer's Two Eyes

Since my own two eyes were not nearly enough to see and evaluate all the repertory/revival film screenings here on Frisco Bay, I'm honored to present local filmgoers' lists of the year's favorites. An index of participants is found here.

The following list comes from journalist/critic Jonathan Kiefer, who archives reviews from his many outlets at

Five local showings I’m ashamed to have missed in 2010

I need to get out more, by which I mean sit quietly in the dark with strangers for hours at a time more often than I already do. I’m still missing so much of the good stuff.

Of course the blessings of a professional obligation to see movies like Going the Distance and The Back-Up Plan sometimes can be mixed. And that’s all the more reason for me to be a better supporter of the persistently splendid Bay Area repertory scene. But I only have two eyes!

So here’s a shortlist of the many offerings from last year that I regret having missed.

1. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? God asked me the same question when that film played at the Red Vic in April and I didn’t go see it. David Lynch produces, Werner Herzog directs, Michael Shannon stars -- and I can’t even manage to show up? What the hell is wrong with me?

2. Thundercrack! at the Roxie, April. Written by and starring George Kuchar, directed by Curt McDowell, and rightly described -- even by Glenn Beck -- as “the world’s only underground kinky art porno horror film, complete with four men, three women and a gorilla,” yet still never seen in its entirety by me. The shame!

3. Orlando. In late July and early August, Landmark briefly offered another chance for a theatrical view of Tilda Swinton as the sex-shifting 400-year-old nobleman in Sally Potter’s 1992 movie of Virginia Woolf’s novel. Guess who apparently had better things to do?

4. I Want to Live! at the PFA, in July. Actually, I want to live at the PFA most months. Having studied the relentless, true-ish story of Barbara Graham’s mid-1950s stint on San Quentin’s Death Row, I am convinced that watching it on my flat-screen by myself instead of on a big screen with other people is indeed a miscarriage of justice.

5. In September, the Red Vic showed Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 horror-fantasy Hausu, which has been called “a fear too beautiful to resist!” And yet, unaccountably, I did resist it. Idiot!

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