***We're looking for contributors***

Marianne Faithfull Sex Worker & 'Afghan Muscles' + Drag Queens & Luise Rainer: AFI FEST Movies

Clouds Over Conakry Cheick Fantamady Camara
'Clouds Over Conakry.'

Los Angeles' AFI FEST 2007 is being held at the ArcLight theater complex in Hollywood.

Clouds Over Conakry (above, France / Guinea) at 1:45 p.m. - Set in Conakry, director-screenwriter Cheick Fantamady Camara's film depicts the clash of cultures taking place not only in Africa but all over the world. A young man secretly works as a cartoonist for the city paper, using his drawings to satirize the local religious freaks. One problem: his father is an imam. (Replace fundamentalist Islam with fundamentalist Christianity, and you'll see that this story – or something quite similar to it – could be taking place right next door.) In French /Malinke with English subtitles. 115 min.

Manuela y Manuel by Raul Marchand Sanchez

Manuela y Manuel (above, Puerto Rico) at 4:45 p.m. - Raul Marchand Sanchez's contrived, juvenile dramatic comedy about family, friendship, and drag queens was a big hit with Monday evening's AFI FEST audience. It's a mix of La Cage aux folles with (a very mild) Pedro Almodóvar. On the positive side, the colorful costumes and the decor are first-rate, and so is the cinematography – especially considering that Manuela y Manuel was shot on video. In Spanish with English subtitles. 94 min.

Hollywood Chinese (US) at 6:45 p.m. - Arthur Dong's Golden Horse Award-nominated documentary takes a look at the portrayal of Chinese and Chinese-Americans in Hollywood films. Among those featured are Turhan Bey, Christopher Lee, Nancy Kwan, and two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Luise Rainer (The Great Ziegfeld, 1936; The Good Earth, 1937). Several cast members and the filmmaker are expected to attend the screening, which will be followed by a panel discussion. 89 min. More on Hollywood Chinese.

The Duchess of Langeais (France) at 6:45 p.m. - Nouvelle Vague veteran Jacques Rivette, 80, is back with this romantic melodrama set in Paris during the Restoration, where a married woman entices a handsome general only to turn him down. The roles, however, are eventually reversed. Screenwriters Pascal Bonitzer and Christine Laurent adapted Balzac's novel, while Jeanne Balibar, Guillaume Depardieu, and veterans Michel Piccoli and Bulle Ogier star. In French with English subtitles. 137 min.

Silent Night by Carlos ReygadasSilent Night (left, Mexico / France) at 7:15 p.m. - Carlos Reygadas' drama is set in a small Mennonite community in Mexico where a married man falls in love with another woman. Silent Light tied with Persepolis (screening this Saturday) for the Special Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival. In Plutdietsch with English subtitles. 127 min.

Used Parts (Mexico / France / Spain) at 9:30 p.m. - In this socio-psychological drama, writer-director Aarón Fernández Lesur tells the story of a 14-year-old Mexican whose “American Dream” is quite literally the United States. Like so many good Americans and American-wannabes, in order to achieve his dream the teenager will do whatever it takes.

Additionally, the AFI FEST will screen a number of shorts all day tomorrow, including Lilah Vandenburgh's Bitch (“love at first sneer”), Robert Cosnahan's Psycho Hillbilly Cabin Massacre (“a bloodbath erupts when a group of Ivy League students discover an isolated hillbilly cabin in the woods”), Osbert Parker's Yours Truly (“film icons burst through lost layers of yesterday's emulsion in this gripping second installment of Parker's contemporary noir trilogy”), and Albert Jan van Rees and Diederik Ebbinge's Naked (eight-year-old boy visits a sauna with his mother).

Galina Vishnevskaya in Alexandra by Alexander Sokurov

The AFI FEST 2007 is being held at the ArcLight theater complex in Hollywood.

Alexandra (above, Russia) at 1:30 p.m. - Alexander Sokurov weaves an anti-war story set at a Russian army camp in Chechnya, where Alexandra (Galina Vishnevskaya) goes visit her army officer grandson. At the camp, nobody wants the old lady. Nobody wants to go on fighting, either. In Russian with English subtitles. 92 min.

Marianne Faithfull Irina Palm

Irina Palm (Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, UK) at 2:00 p.m. - Another grandmother-grandson love story, but with a twist. Veteran actress-singer and 2007 European Film Award nominee Marianne Faithfull (above) stars as a working-class grandma who loves her ailing grandson so much that, unable to get either a loan or a “regular” job to pay for the boy's life-saving trip to an Australian medical facility, decides to work at a sex club – where she becomes the Best Wanker in London. Unfortunately, Irina Palm is neither as risqué nor as subversive as it sounds. In fact, this is one more in the series of naughty-cutesy comedy-dramas that have been made in the UK in the last decade or two. (Think The Full Monty.) It's ideal Pedro Almodóvar material bowdlerized for the enjoyment of 11-year-olds and churchgoing old ladies. Sam Garbarski directed from a highly sentimental – and much-too-tame – screenplay by Martin Herron and Philippe Blasband. 103 min.

Shame (Sweden) at 3:00 p.m. - In Ingmar Bergman's 1968 psychological drama, Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow play a married couple whose lives are about to be turned upside by a world war. Hey, does it sound like the state of the world in 2007? Go check it out. In Swedish with English subtitles. 103 min.

Afghan Muscles by Andreas Mol Dalsgaard

Afghan Muscles (Denmark) at 4:00 p.m. - Andreas Mol Dalsgaard's documentary shows male bodybuilding in Afghanistan, supposedly a very popular activity in that country. In the film, buffed-up guys parade around in Speedos to the delight of their (male) audience. In English / Pashto with English subtitles. 58 min.

The Aerial (Argentina) at 6:45 p.m. - Esteban Sapir's surreal film is set in a city where people have lost their voices, though they apparently can – literally – read what each other is saying. According to AFI FEST reviewer Jacqueline Lyanga, The Aerial has touches of Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon, Luis Buñuel's Un chien andalou, Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin, and Fritz Lang's Metropolis. In Spanish with English subtitles. 90 min.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (France) at 7:00 p.m. - For this film, Julian Schnabel won a best director award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. That is hardly surprising, but for all the wrong reasons. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly exemplifies the sort of self-conscious filmmaking that calls attention to itself – funky camera angles, funky music, funky editing – so as to disguise the vacuousness of the material. The screenplay is based on an autobiographical book: Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby suffers a stroke, ends up paralyzed but manages to write said book by blinking one eyelid. Those who thought that Schnabel's Before Night Falls actually had something to say about the human condition will probably love this. Others might want to look for entertainment/enlightenment elsewhere. But no movie with the outstanding Marie-Josée Croze can be a total waste of time. She's in this one, playing a nurse – unfortunately, a relatively minor supporting role. Also in the cast: Mathieu Amalric (as Bauby), Emmanuelle Seigner, Anne Consigny, Marina Hands, and Max von Sydow. In French with English subtitles. 111 min.

Look (US) at 9:30 p.m. - Adam Rifkin's film follows different people whose lives have one thing in common: they have been watched, are being watched, or will be watched by those pesky surveillance cameras. Note: Look is shot entirely from the point of view of the cameras. 93 min.

August Diehl in The Counterfeiters
August Diehl in The Counterfeiters

 

The AFI FEST 2007 is being held at the ArcLight theater complex in Hollywood.

The Aerial (Argentina) at 1:15 p.m. - Esteban Sapir's surreal film is set in a city where people have lost their voices, though they apparently can – literally – read what each other is saying. According to AFI FEST reviewer Jacqueline Lyanga, The Aerial has touches of Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon, Luis Buñuel's Un chien andalou, Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin, and Fritz Lang's Metropolis. In Spanish with English subtitles. 90 min.

Munyurangabo (US) at 2:00 p.m. - Lee Isaac Chung's Rwanda-set drama follows two young friends – one Hutu, one Tutsi – who set out to kill the man responsible for the death of the Tutsi boy's parents during the 1994 genocide. Can they remain friends after stopping by the Hutu boy's village? Chung weaves an honest and at times poignant tale about friendship, family, and the evils of tribalism, but one crucial problem with Munyurangabo is its length. Scenes drag on for much longer than they should, thus diluting the film's emotional power. In Kinyarwanda with English subtitles. 97 min.

Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh in Margot at the Wedding

Margot at the Wedding (above, US) at 3:00 p.m. - Noah Baumbach's messy comedy-drama tells the story of two loving-hating sisters (Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh) and the soon-to-be husband of one of them, played by Jack Black. There's quite possibly a good movie in there somewhere, but if so, it got lost amidst all the neurotic arguing. 93 min.

Flight of the Red Balloon by Hou Hsiao-hsienFlight of the Red Balloon (right, France / Taiwan) at 6:45 p.m. - Inspired by Albert Lamorisse's classic Le Ballon rouge, Hou Hsiao-hsien's film follows the travails of a Parisian mother (Juliette Binoche) and her young son. In French with English subtitles. 113 min.

Tribute to Catherine Deneuve / Persepolis (France) at 7:00 p.m. - The Deneuve tribute will be followed by a screening of Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis, co-winner of the Special Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival and France's submission for the best foreign-language film Oscar. The animated feature, based on Satrapi's series of autobiographical graphic novels about Iran during the Islamic Revolution, stars the voices of Deneuve, veteran Danielle Darrieux, Deneuve's daughter Chiara Mastroianni, and others. In French with English subtitles. 95 min.

The Counterfeiters (top photo, Germany / Austria) at 9:00 p.m. - Stefan Ruzowitzky's World War II suspense-drama revolves around a black-market forger and Russian Jew (Karl Markovics) who is put in charge of a massive Nazi effort to flood Britain and the United States with counterfeit currency. Director Ruzowitzky is expected to attend the screening. Also in the cast: August Diehl, 2007 German Academy Award winner for best supporting actor Devid Striesow, Martin Brambach, and August Zirner. In German with English subtitles. 99 min.

Confessions of a Superhero (US) at 11:00 p.m. - Matthew Ogens' documentary depicts the aspirations and disappointments of four people who earn a living by playing superhero characters on Hollywood Boulevard. Director Ogens is expected to attend the screening. 92 min.

The Counterfeiters by Stefan Ruzowitzky

The AFI FEST 2007 is being held at the ArcLight theater complex in Hollywood.

Cyrano Fernandez (Venezuela / Spain) at 12:00 p.m. - Writer-director Alberto Arvelo transposes Cyrano de Bergerac to the slum of Caracas. Edgar Ramírez stars in the title role. Jessika Grau is the object of his affection. In Spanish with English subtitles. 100 min.

The Savages (US) at 1:00 p.m. - Laura Linney co-stars with Philip Seymour Hoffman in director-screenwriter Tamara Jenkins' comedy-drama about siblings who are brought together after their estranged father falls ill. 113 min.

Chris & Don. A Love Story (US) at 1:15 p.m. - See Chris & Don post. 90 min.

Simone Simon in The Cat People by Jacques TourneurVal Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (US) Kent Jones' documentary follows 1940s RKO producer Val Lewton, the man in large part responsible for psychological/atmospheric horror classics such as The Cat People (right, with Simone Simon), I Walked with a Zombie, and Isle of the Dead. Narrated by Martin Scorsese. 77 min; video.

The Counterfeiters (top photo, Germany / Austria) at 3:00 p.m. - Stefan Ruzowitzky's World War II suspense-drama revolves around a black-market forger and Russian Jew (Karl Markovics) who is put in charge of a massive Nazi effort to flood Britain and the United States with counterfeit currency. Also in the cast: August Diehl, German Academy Award winner for best supporting actor Devid Striesow, Martin Brambach, and August Zirner. In German with English subtitles. 99 min.

David Lynch in Lynch

Lynch (US) at 3:45 p.m. - A trip inside David Lynch's mind, as he completes Inland Empire. The documentary is credited to “blackANDwhite,” who's expected to attend the screening. Rumor has it that bAw's evil twin, COLor, will also show up. Sit tight. 84 min; video.

AFI FEST's Closing Night Gala: Love in the Time of Cholera (US) at 7:30 p.m. (at the Cinerama Dome) and 7:45 p.m. (at the ArcLight complex) - Javier Bardem, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Liev Schreiber, Laura Harring, John Leguizamo, Catalina Sandino Moreno, and Benjamin Bratt star in director Mike Newell and screenwriter Ronald Harwood's adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel. Set in Cartagena, Colombia, Love in the Time of Cholera follows a man who waits more than half a century for his one true love. Director Newell is expected to attend the screening. Tickets are $75.00. No need for subtitles as in this film's Colombia everyone apparently speaks fluent English (with Italian, Spanish, American, etc. accents). 120 min.

'Chris & Don: A Love Story': AFI FEST Movies

Christopher Isherwood, Don Bachardy in Chris and Don. A Love Story

Guido Santi and Tina Mascara's documentary Chris & Don. A Love Story will be screened on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the AFI FEST 2007, currently being held at the ArcLight theater complex in Hollywood.

Chris & Don portrays the relationship between British writer Christopher Isherwood, whose The Berlin Stories inspired the musical and film Cabaret, and American portrait artist Don Bachardy. Isherwood and Bachardy began their courtship in 1952; the former was 49, the latter had just turned 18. Some found – and will find – their intimacy weird, sinful, disgusting, or what have you. They apparently didn't. Despite no small amount of difficulties, the couple stayed together until Isherwood's death of cancer in 1986. (See trailer below.)

Bachardy himself narrates Chris & Don, while Michael York, who plays the Isherwood-inspired leading character in Cabaret, reads passages from Isherwood's novels, letters, and (published and unpublished) diaries. In addition to home footage shot by the couple in the 1950s, the documentary also includes interviews with actors Liza Minnelli, Leslie Caron, Jack Larson, and Gloria Stuart; director John Boorman; Christopher Isherwood Foundation co-founder James White; Huntington Library and Isherwood Archive curator Sara Hodson; and Katherine Bucknell, editor of Christopher Isherwood Diaries.

Bachardy, editors-directors Santi and Mascara, producer James White, production designer Francisco Stohr, cinematographer Ralph Q. Smith, associate producer Signe Johnson are expected to attend the screening.

Q&A with filmmakers Guido Santi and Tina Mascara.

Marianne Faithfull Sex Worker & 'Afghan Muscles' + Drag Queens & Luise Rainer: AFI FEST Movies © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about 'Marianne Faithfull Sex Worker & 'Afghan Muscles' + Drag Queens & Luise Rainer: AFI FEST Movies'

COMMENTING RULES:

Don't waste time and energy disagreeing with and/or being deeply offended by the presentation of factual information.

On the other hand, it's perfectly okay to disagree with and/or, if you're so inclined, to be deeply offended by the views & opinions (and/or likes & dislikes) found on this site. And to let us know about any omissions or, heaven forbid, errors.

Just bear in mind that *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative.

In other words: Feel free to add something reasonable & coherent – AND fact-based – to the discussion.

Abusive/bigoted, trollish/inflammatory, baseless (spreading misinformation, whether intentionally or not), spammy, and/or just plain deranged comments will be zapped and offenders may be banned.

And finally, links found in comments will generally be deleted.

Most recent comments listed on top.