Over the last two weeks, each night prior to a film or event at the Castro Theatre audiences have clapped along with the catchy techno-flavored dance tune created by Marc Cappelle. The denizens did so one last time on Thursday night to close this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival, viewed as an unqualified success over its fifteen-day run. S.F. Film Society executive director Graham Leggat buoyed the audience one more time.
“I have a lot of people to thank, because festivals like this don’t go on trees, you know?”, acknowledged Mr. Leggat before a capacity crowd at this grand repertory theatre, which showed a restored 35mm print of “La Dolce Vita” at the beginning of this week.
“It’s a bitter-sweet feeling of being at the end of a 15-day festival. It seems like about ten years ago that Ewan McGregor came strolling down that aisle. It’s been terrific . . . I’m really sad to see it end,” said Rachel Rosen, the S.F. Film Society Festival programming director.
(Mr. McGregor had arrived at the Castro Theatre two weeks ago on the Festival’s opening night during the Q&A for Mike Mills’ film “Beginners”, which opens around the U.S. next month. The actor was to have seen the film for the first time but his flight from Paris to San Francisco was delayed for mechanical reasons.)
After a screening of the Mathieu Almaric-directed comedy-drama “On Tour” (“Tournee”), Ms. Rosen interviewed a quartet of San Francisco burlesque performers who star in the French actor’s directing debut.
Mimi Le Meaux commented during the interview when asked by an audience member about any similarities the Cher-Christina Aguilera film “Burlesque” had with what the quartet on the Castro Theatre stage did professionally.
“There wasn’t any burlesque in that movie,” Ms. Le Meaux said.
“The Cher-Christina Aguilera movie was excellent marketing for us, for our movie (On Tour)”, Kitten On The Keys declared.
“I haven’t seen it”, said the soft-spoken Evie Lovelle (aka Angela de Lorenzo).
“Whenever someone’s in a chair and tapping on the floor, THAT’S FOSSE!”, Kitten emphasized.
Just before the screening Ms. Rosen had a Freudian slip of sorts when she said that “I just wanted to spank . . . “. She quickly corrected herself to say the word “thank”, but the laughter drowned out the correction.
After the interviews with “On Tour” cast members Roky Roulette, Kitten On The Keys, Evie Lovelle and Mimi Le Meaux, Mr. Roulette (aka Alexander Craven) gave a striptease on stage in front of the Castro Theatre audience that would make the late Colonel “KFC” Harlan Sanders either blush or turn over in his grave.
Later Mimi Le Meaux (aka Miranda Colclasure) and Kitten On The Keys (aka Suzanne Ramsey) sashayed in burlesque performances on stage at a local nightclub.
And long after that, Festival patrons danced and partied on into the early Friday morning hours.
A partial list of award winners from the 2011 San Francisco Film Society Golden Gate Awards:
New Directors Award – Park Jung-sum for directing “The Journals Of Musan” (South Korea)
FIPRESCI prize – “The Salesman” (directed by Sébastian Pilote) Canada
Best Documentary Feature – “Better This World” (Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Donovan) USA
Best Bay Area Documentary Feature – “Better This World”
Best Investigative Documentary – “Crime After Crime” (Yoav Potash) USA
Audience Award – Best Narrative Feature, “Incendies” (Denis Villeneuve) Canada
Audience Award – Best Documentary Feature, “Crime After Crime”
Audience Award – Best Overall Film, “Crime After Crime”
Each of these winners received monetary prizes for their work.
For more of Omar’s film stories, movie reviews and interviews visit his Popcorn Reel website and watch his unscripted film reviews on YouTube. Follow him on Twitter.
For a list of Omar’s icedjamb.com stories and film reviews, click here. He is a contributing film critic for “Ebert Presents At The Movies” on PBS television and also a far flung correspondent for the preeminent film critic Roger Ebert and a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.
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