SFIFF 2011 Films in Brief: “Hot Coffee”, “Cinema Komunisto” and “The City Below”

Hot Coffee

The eponymous title of lawyer-turned-filmmaker Susan Saladoff‘s directorial debut alludes to the infamous lawsuit in which a woman was awarded a large sum of green after suing McDonalds for serving a cup of scolding hot java that caused severe burns after she accidentally spilled the beverage on her lap.  Using this case as a springboard into understanding the meanings behind what Tort Reform is then jumping into other cases that traversely hinge on laws surrounding Mandatory Arbitration and both who and what the Chamber of Commerce are, Saladoff’s documentary is one of those films that will cause you to take a stance on issues you normally wouldn’t give the time of day to regardless of its unapologetic one-sided bias.

Showtimes for Hot Coffee:

FRI Apr 22 – 6:30pm (New People)

MON Apr 25 – 6:30pm (Kabuki)

TUE Apr 26 – 2:00pm (Kabuki)

(Click here to purchase tickets)

Follow the jump to see brief reviews on Cinema Komunisto and The City Below

Cinema Komunisto

As the saying goes, “behind every great man is a great woman”.  In the case of Mila Turajlic‘s documentary, Cinema Komunisto, that woman is film and that man is Josip Broz Tito, late president of Yugoslavia.  President Tito’s opposition towards both Hitler and Stalin helped design a strong Yugoslovian socialist federation.  Helping his country stay strong and flourish was the cinema.

Told through various clips of Yugoslavian unifying socialist war flicks, news reels, and  interviews from Tito’s inner film circle, including a charismatic protectionist, Cinema Komunisto is a history lesson on the power and importance the role of cinema can truly play in unifying a nation.  My biggest complaint with this movie lies in the musical selections.  I know it’s a minor complaint, especially in a documentary such as this, but when a film starts out with such flipping fantastic music its switch to more generically dull tunes does not go unnoticed easily.

Showtimes for Cinema Komunisto:

SAT Apr 30 – 3:15pm (Kabuki)

TUE May 3 – 6:30pm (PFA – Berkeley)

WED May 4 – 3:15pm (Kabuki)

(Click here to purchase tickets)

The City Below

unlikable characters inhabit the bleak and frigid Frankfurt high finance world in Christoph Hochhäusler‘s latest film in where uninhibited power, greed and passion are just as much of a driving force as the protagonists that inhabit them.  Clearly there is a larger statement critisism on capitalism running afoot throughout which is made abundantly clear in the purposeful acting style in which the director applies.  Hochhäusler’s nightmarish closing scenes not only validates the boarder-line camp and over dramatization of all that transpired prior to its conclusion, it solidifies his name on my list of directors to keep an eye out for.

Showtimes for The City Below:

FRI Apr 22 – 9:30pm (Kabuki)

MON Apr 25 – 4:00pm (Kabuki)

FRI Apr 29 – 6:00pm (Kabuki)

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