Sunday, April 28, 2013

Morning of St. Anthony's Day (2012)

WHO: João Pedro Rodrigues directed this.

WHAT: Have you ever felt like you were in a George Romero movie on the morning after a full-fledged Bacchanal? The stars of Morning of Saint Anthony’s Day sure have. It may be useful contextual information to know that St. Anthony's Day is a municipal holiday in Lisbon, Portugal (where this was shot), marking the June 13, 1231 death of the Franciscan monk, who was canonized only a year later. His statue in that city's Alvalade Square, and lines from a poem by Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa (although not the lines that mention St. Anthony) also figure into this piece.

To get a written feel for the work, I can't really improve on Jorge Mourinha's description:
Morning of Saint Anthony’s Day is a deadpan, dialogue-free look at the aftermath of a night spent partying, precisely choreographed as a sort of hungover, slow-motion zombie flash mob and shot as if an alien Big Brother was watching humankind and asking what the hell is going on. Even if slightly overlong, it’s by far the loosest, cheeriest work of a director usually not known for his sense of humour, though this is more the Roy Andersson variety of dry, poignant wit.
WHERE/WHEN: San Francisco International Film Festival screenings tonight at 9:30 and Thursday May 9th at 8:30, both at New People Cinema.

WHY: As much excitement there may be in the selections of films the programming team brings to SFIFF every year, every cinephile who pays attention to the international festival scene probably can think of at least one or two that haven't been brought but they wish were. For me, new films by two directors, whose prior films (Wild Grass and To Die Like A Man) were among my favorite SFIFF films in 2010, stand out: Alain Resnais's You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet and João Pedro Rodrigues's The Last Time I Saw Macao. While I hope both play Frisco Bay cinemas at some point in the next several months, I'm glad to be tided over in the latter instance by this Rodrigues short that has gotten less international exposure.

Morning of St. Anthony's Day screens as part of an eclectic program going by the title Shorts 4: New Visions, but it's actually quite a substantial work. At 25 minutes in length, it's more than twice as long as any of this program's other shorts, which range from five to twelve minutes in duration. With all the feature-length (and, in the case of Penance and Eight Deadly Shots, much longer) possibilities to cram into a festival schedule, many attendees systematically avoid scheduling shorts programs. But people who came to be fans of a filmmaker like Rodrigues (or of Joan Chen or of Grégoire Colin, both of whom have directed shorts playing in other festival shorts programs) through features may want to rethink this strategy, and they may be exposed to some great work by filmmakers who regularly eschew feature-length running times as well.

HOW: Digital video screening of a digital video work, as part of a program of five other video works along with one 35mm silent film with live musical accompaniment.

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