Monday, May 01, 2006
The San Francisco Film Festival is in its 49th iteration this year, mostly unspooling lots of foreign films for two weeks at the Kabuki Theatres in Japantown.
The director of the festival for years had been Peter Scarlet (what a great name), a well-regarded cineaste who decamped for Paris about five years ago, and who is now in charge of the Tribeca Film Festival. He was replaced by a woman who was despised by just about everyone in the universe except for the public relations people she hired at great expense to burnish her own personal image.
The public relations attempt eventually failed, and she was replaced this year by a New Yorker named Graham Leggat, who seems quite smart and interesting in his interviews.
He also helped put up a piece of public art for a week which consisted of a slide show projected onto the side of City Hall of photo collages by a local artist named Lucy Gray which featured the Art Cult Actress of Our Time, Tilda Swinton.
It seemed that Ms. Gray had taken photographs of Ms. Swinton on the set of a recently completed movie called "Thumbsucker."
She also had taken a number of photographs of Route 66, and she was unsatisfied with both of them as they stood, so she went into Photoshop and combined the two collage-style. For a more complete explanation, click here.
Tilda Swinton's cinematic career began with her being the muse to Derek Jarman, a gay British filmmaker who died of AIDS in the 1990s after making "Caravaggio" and "War Requiem" and "The Tempest" and any number of important, arty films.
It's embarrassing to admit, but I may be the only homosexual with artistic pretentions in my age range who has never seen at least one Derek Jarman film, but there you have it. I have instincts about these kinds of things and I know I would hate them.
Still, I'm tempted to see them only because Tilda Swinton really is extraordinary to watch on film. "The Deep End" and the recent "The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe" only confirmed what I'd noticed when she would do brief bits in bad Hollywood films like "Vanilla Sky."
You couldn't take your eyes off of her.