Glenn here with a report from the recently concluded 56th San Francisco Film Festival. I travelled to the Golden Gate city and sat on the FIPRESCI jury, judging a roster of eleven films from first and second-time directors. Given the attention given to FIPRESCI – The International Federation of Film Critics, or Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique if you want to be European about it – I wasn’t allowed to discuss the films as the festival progressed (can’t let the pundits in on what we’re going to reward now, can we?), but now we can take short looks at each of the competition titles.
Directed by Justine Malle (yes, Louis Malles daughter), and starring Esther Garrel (daughter of Philippe; sister of ubiquitous French star Louis Garrel) and with a title as definitive as Youth (there should be an "!" there just for effect), Malle’s debut has the weight of baggage. Appropriate then given it’s about a young woman dealing with first love, sex, parties, exams, an ill womanising filmmaking father, and wine. So much wine. From the very opening scene Malle does a fine job of establishing this young girl torn between the city life with her mother and the country life of her father. Her train trips back and forth are very literal back-and-forths with her personality as she tries to decide what she wants. And that includes one of her classmates, Benjamin (Émile Bertherat that my notes proclaim has “DREAMBOAT HAIR!”) The film has some pertinent things to say about young women and society’s view of them – a stranger sees her crying over her dying father and asks “is it about a boy?” I enjoyed it a lot, even if it did feel somewhat like a film I’ve seen before.
10 more films (some maddening, some great), one strange cat, one possible Oscar submission after the jump...