Monday, May 2, 2011

SFIFF54 Day 12: Claire Denis Film Scores

The 54nd San Francisco International Film Festival is in its final week. It runs through May 5th. Each day during the festival I'll be posting a recommendation and capsule review of a film in the festival.

Tindersticks: Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009

playing: at 8:30 PM at the Castro, with no further screenings during the festival.
distribution: not applicable; this is a live event.

For each of my other daily festival previews this year, I've been singling out a single film to focus my writing, even if it's part of a shorts program. Yesterday, the film I wrote on didn't actually show- though its 1935 remake did (what an evening it was!). Today, instead of focusing on a single film, I'm going to talk about a program as a whole. That's because tonight's Tindersticks event won't involve the screening of any film in its entirety; instead, clips from ix films for which the British ensemble has provided musical scores, will be shown at the Castro in versions with music stripped out but dialogue remaining, but accompanied musically by the composers live on the stage.

Dennis Lim has aptly investigated the working relationship between the great French auteur Claire Denis, and Tindersticks, who have provided the score for all of her feature films since 1996's Nenette And Boni (pictured above), save for two: Vers Mathilde, her only documentary in this period, and 1999's Beau Travail which understandably took a different approach to music than Tindersticks might have been able to provide, at least not so early in the collaboration. I'm interested in tonight's event for a number of reasons. Foremostly, because I love most every Denis film I've seen (and thanks to the recent PFA retro that's nearly all of them), have always thought the aural contributions from Tindersticks played a large role in this affection, and want to hear them perform the music live. I'm also curious about the technical side of the event: how is this going to work to have dialogue and image at a music event, or should I say a louder-than-usual musical score at a film event? Will there be improvisation, or will the music be just as heard in the films? Finally, I'm hoping that foregrounding the musical aspect of some of Denis's films for an evening, might help me understand a bit better just what is working in the Tindersticks scores, that makes them seem so unique, and what is their precise contribution to making her films so unique. I'm expecting an evening that will be much-discussed by local cinephiles for many months to come.

SFIFF54 Day 12
Another option: The Journals of Musan (SOUTH KOREA: Park Jung-bum, 2010) I haven't seen this first feature by an assistant director to Lee Chang-dong on the recent Poetry, but Adam Hartzell has called it "poignantly pessimistic", and other reports from festgoers who attended prior screenings have me intrigued.

Non-SFIFF-option for today: Moulin Rouge at the Red Vic. I don't even like this movie, but the fact that it's playing on 35mm at the Red Vic makes it of interest. What else was I going to pick on a Monday? The digital screening of Top Gun playing in every single AMC Theatre across America tonight? (Which might be more popular than expected, after last night's news.) I could mention the double-bill at the Stanford but I already mentioned it on Friday.

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