Projections - Page 5

A long list of short takes on SFIFF 57, in chronological order

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A teen fights for her rights in Ethiopian drama Difret.
Photo courtesty San Francisco Film Society

The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir (Mike Fleiss, US) Bob Weir gets a little of his share of the critical limelight in this doc by Mike Fleiss, which focuses on Weir's personal life and gives Grateful Dead chronology a light scramble. It kicks off with a cruise across the Golden Gate Bridge with the SF-born musician, who was taught to drive by Neal Cassady and gleans admiration from both expected quarters (Sammy Hagar) and less so (The National, which tries a brief jam with Weir) and drops tidbits about his dyslexia, early hangouts with Palo Alto banjo player Jerry Garcia, his chronic shoulder pain, and songwriting approaches ("There's no logic to it. It comes through the window when it wants to come though the window"), along with a visit to the famed Dead house at 710 Ashbury with his wife and daughters. Couched amid a bevy of performance snippets, none very long, the road-weathered rhythm guitarist comes off as a bit of tough nut to crack and almost too humdrum in his current downplayed presentation to ever really lead us on a truly "long, strange trip." Still, this document serves as a decent primer for the rock generalist on the man (though not of his bands apart from the Dead) and goes a little way toward generating gratitude for the man oft dubbed an unsung hero. Tue/29, 8:50pm, PFA; May 2, 9:30pm, Kabuki. (Chun)

Eastern Boys (Robin Campillo, France, 2013) We first meet well-off, middle-aged single gay man Daniel (Olivier Rabourdin) as he's cruising a Paris train station for rough trade in writer-director Robin Campillo's bravura opening sequence. He settles on impish Marek (Kirill Emelyanov), negotiates an assignation, and goes home. But later on it's not Marek who turns up on Daniel's doorstep, but a couple dozen young former-Soviet-bloc illegal émigrés who take over his luxury apartment for an epic party as they cart his possessions out the door. (This unpleasant passage is the most difficult to swallow, as there's no explanation why our protagonist is so passive about being robbed.) Yet Marek does eventually turn up, and despite all, a relationship develops — always at risk of incurring anger from "Boss" (Danill Vorobyev), the thuggish leader of the immigrant community Marek has aligned himself with. Like the Laurent Cantet films (1999's Human Resources, 2001's Time Out, 2008's The Class) Campillo has edited, Eastern Boys doesn't fill in all its narrative blanks, but is grounded in recognizable characters we can empathize with as the scenario takes unexpected turns. It's a provoking movie that's ultimately well worthwhile. April 30, 9:10pm, PFA; May 2, 6pm, Kabuki; May 4, 8:45pm, New People. (Harvey)

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