San Francisco International Film Festival 2012: “Bernie”, “Palaces of Pity” and “Women With Cows” Reviews and Trailers


I’d never seen a movie told from the perspective of a group of gossips, but in this case it seemed like the proper narrative technique that would reveal everything you could ever really know about the town and the people involved… It was also this unconventional storytelling device that almost kept the movie from ever getting made” – Richard Linklater (Director)

Well, I for one, am very glad that this subtle (Jack) black comedy got made, Richard.  Yes, as you can tell by the picture, this is no doubt a Jack Black driven vehicle, but trust me, it can be enjoyed by even those who have grown tired of Mr. Black’s Shtick, myself included.

Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset) tells the true story of Bernie, the beloved  mortician of Eastern Texas who did a naughty thing.  Told in part faux documentary and part re-enactment, the entire affair felt like a more extravagant episode of Rescue 911. This is the type of comedy where I’m sure I’ll catch more jokes upon repeat viewings.

Palaces of Pity

I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent viewer of films who is able to find meaning in even the most unconventionally structured, or dare I say, “artsy” (how I loathe that adjective) film.  With that being said, my initial reaction to Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt‘s extended ad for American Apparel was that of “What the fuck is this nonsense?!”  Okay, I get it.  It’s not about the plot so much as it’s about what the characters stand for, which is… oh, who cares?

If you want to see a short film with a lot of teen models, some penis stroking, and a whole heap of nonsense then by all means, have fun with this one.  On the plus side, it was shot well and did show flourishes of what these two filmmakers can accomplish should they decide to ever come down from their acid trip.

Women With Cows

Women With Cows is a Swedish documentary about two sisters who have lived the majority of their lives tending to their cattle and coming to terms with accepting the fact that they can no longer move the way they used to.  Aside from the occasional flashback, the majority of the movie takes place in current day, with the sisters coping with their final years.  This movie is as interesting as its subjects allow it to be, which, despite their strong stubborn personalities and some clever juxtapositional framed shots, surprisingly isn’t all that interesting.

I’m sure this movie has its audience, unfortunately it doesn’t include myself.  I lack the capability of finding amusement from watching people’s home movies, especially ones that serve no other purpose than to pay tribute to a specific member of their family, no matter how well it is filmed.  Great for memorial services, not for film festivals.


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