Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jauja (2014)

Viggo Mortensen in a scene from Lisandro Alonso's JAUJA, playing at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 23 - May 7 2015. Courtesy of the San Francisco Film Society.
WHO: Lisandro Alonso co-wrote and directed this, his first new feature film since Liverpool back in 2008.

WHAT: Oops! Somehow I got the "hold review" rules a bit wrong the other day. I actually have 100 words in which to write a capsule review of a title receiving an upcoming commercial release. I'll start counting after this sentence.

If Alonso's masterpiece Los Muertos was the shadowy underbelly to Blissfully Yours, Jauja takes him into mystical realms akin to Uncle Boonmee, by way of Sjöström's elemental landscape dramas. Scandinavia looms; Viggo Mortensen's a Danish cavalryman seeking his teenaged daughter in remote Patagonia. He simultaneously exudes power and frailty, dwarfed as he often is by expanses separating him from the square frame, rounded at the corners as if to suggest Carleton Watkins' mammoth plates. When these curves disappear into blackness, its one of the film's sublime moments, at least as many as there were co-producing nations (according to imdb, eight!)

WHERE/WHEN: Screens one final time at the Kabuki (3PM today) as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), and will also screen daily at the Roxie during the week of May 22-28.

WHY: Jauja is at "RUSH status" at SFIFF but that doesn't mean you can't see it; by arriving early for the screening you may just have a good shot at nabbing a seat in the theatre, although it might be in the first few rows of the theatre. In which case you'll have to wait until its Roxie run a month or less from now. All the "RUSH status" screenings can be followed day-to-day on this handy web page.

HOW: DCP at the Kabuki, but most likely Blu-Ray projection at the Roxie.

OTHER SFIFF OPTIONS: Yesterday Paul Schrader received the Maurice Kanbar Award from the festival as part of its gala awards presentation night. Tonight he holds court at the Kabuki's screen 1, to speak about his career and present a screening of his brilliant Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters from the digital master from which the Criterion DVD was made (the last 35mm print I saw of this film was extremely beat-up, although still quite effective.) Today's also the last screening of Stanley Nelson's The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, which is like Jauja at RUSH status.

NON-SFIFF OPTION: Man From Reno, a Bay Area-shot feature from the director of Surrogate Valentine screens this week at various Frisco Bay cinemas; today it's at the Roxie, the 4-Star and the New Parkway.

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