My Day 2 At San Francisco’s International Film Festival 2012: “The Queen Of Versilles” and “Acid Queens: Peaches & Tommy”

Photo by Tommy Lau

Yesterday, my first day at the film festival, could be summed up as mediocre movie watching through sleep deprived pupils, or just a tad above thereof.  Today, however was just the opposite.  This was a day filled with excessiveness that included loud live rock n’ roll, loud filmmaking of the Ken Russell oeuvre, loud money, the loud voice of karma, and one very loud and luscious San Franfamous cross dressing diva!

Not only was there a great amount of excessive fun to be had inside the theatre, but there was also plenty of entertainment to be had outside as well, if you knew where to look, that is.  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to look far, because, as fate would have it, I happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Within seconds of departing from the 38 Geary bus I was greeted with a woman tripping over the sidewalk and falling down.  Now, Before you judge me too harshly you should know that I waited until I saw that she was okay and that she was out of sight before replaying the event (yes, when someone falls it is an event) in my head and getting a healthy and hearty laugh.  I didn’t know it yet, but karma, not at all pleased with my sense of humor, would have its way with me before the night was over.

Speaking of the night, let’s get started on what I watched.  Here’s my review on Lauren Greenfield‘s intimate documentary of an American family living the life of the 1%ers, The Queen of Versailles

The Queen of Versailles

This movie is the reason I love going to festivals.  I had no plans on seeing this, and decided to check it out as a way of killing time until my next movie began.  I am so glad I saw this movie!

After waiting in a rush line to see my planned movie, Oslo, August 31st for 30 minutes and not getting in I went to see this documentary, that judging from the festival guide’s photo, which is the same photo posted above, looked like it could be hilarious.  Turns out, it was.  I can’t delve too deep into Director Lauren Greenfield 4 years in the making movie because the Film Society asked that I would keep it brief, because this will be getting a wider release later on in the year.

So, in the spirit of keeping it brief I’ll just say that this documentary is a refreshing riches to rags story directed in a very sympathetic manner with and excessive amount of laughs almost equaling the excessive amount of money the Siegel family was once worth.  I can see the criticisms now, “why would I want to pay to see a reality TV show?” or “why should I care about multi-millionaires?”.  Hopefully these criticisms don’t happen, but when, or rather if, they do, I urge you to ignore them.


Full disclosure; I am not a fan of The Who, and the only film I’ve seen of Ken Russell‘s is Gothic from 1986.  Both that movie and Pete Townshend‘s band have failed to leave any lasting impression on me – that is, until I witnessed the most excessive (word of the day, by the way) hallucinatory jubilant rock opera ever that is Tommy.  A brief plot outline; It’s about a deaf, dumb and blind kid who plays a mean pinball.  But trust me when I tell you that just knowing the plot, or even the pinball wizard song that goes with it can’t begin to prepare you for this film.  If you haven’t seen this, or are hesitant because you regard Russell’s films as hokey trash, or think The Who sucks, or whatever your prejudicial reason may be, than you my friend might die having never seen this outstanding fabulous piece of motion picture art.  May Tommy, oops, I mean God have mercy on your soul.

So having seen my first 5 star caliber festival movie, in what has been quite some time, and having satisfyingly rocked out to Peaches and her band before the movie I headed home.  This was when Karma took its sweet revenge on me.

Still reeling from the awesomeness that was Tommy I began to descend the Sundance Kabuki stairs and that’s when it happened.  In a momentary lapse of all brain function I forgot how to walk.  Four stairs from the bottom I took a fall, quickly got up, turned around to see if anybody noticed and then walked out the door.  If anybody did notice I hope they at least got a good laugh out of it, I know I would have.  To shay, karma, to shay.


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