Projections - Page 7

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

Of Horses and Men (Benedikt Erlingsson, Iceland/Germany, 2013) Benedikt Erlingsson's astonishing directorial debut weaves together a half dozen disparate stories involving beautiful horses and mostly unlucky humans in and near a modern Icelandic small town. It's a horsey movie like no other, each surprising tale marked to various degrees by black comedy, cruel fate, very earthy humor, and hints of the fantastical. Nature being a harsh mistress, some events here are rather shocking or tragic — those who automatically despise any film in which animals come to harm (only in dramatic terms, of course) had best stay clear. But less delicate souls may well find this unique equine-themed mix of folk art and fable exhilaratingly original. May 2, 4:30pm, Kabuki; May 3, 8:45pm, Kabuki; May 5, 6pm, Kabuki. (Harvey)

Salvation Army (Abdellah Taïa, Morocco, 2013) Paris-based Moroccan writer Abdellah Taïa adapts his presumably autobiographical 2006 novel in this accomplished feature. Teenaged Abdellah (Said Mrini) is stuck in the middle of a large, rambunctious family where his parents continually fight, sometimes violently, and he has to keep his feelings hidden — not least because they largely revolve around an infatuation with older brother Slimane (Amine Ennaji). While that attraction remains forbidden, Abdellah does find ways to access love or at least sex with other older men, though these sometimes exploitative interludes leave him dissatisfied. Salvation Army would be an effective if unmemorable portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-queer if it didn't take an abrupt, unexpected jump forward 10 years, to chart the rough early days of a now-adult protagonist (Karim Ait M'Hand) in supposedly more gay-friendly (but not necessarily immigrant-friendly) France. It's these later scenes that lend this directorial debut by (so far) the only out gay Arab Moroccan scribe its lingering gravity. May 2, 9pm, Kabuki; May 4, 8:30pm, PFA; May 6, 6:30pm, Kabuki. (Harvey)

Intruders (Noh Young-seok, South Korea, 2013) Noh Young-seok's insidiously clever black comedy-thriller takes its time getting to the nasty stuff — although things start getting weird for our protagonist right away, when his bus ride to a remote resort region is interrupted by an overly-friendly local who will figure in his troubles later on. Sang-jin (Jun Kuk-ho) is here to spend some alone time finishing a screenplay. But he's unlikely to get much work done, given various pesterings from the hitherto mentioned ex-con New Best Friend (Oh Tae-kyung), an obnoxious quartet of skiers, some hostile poachers, and ... well, you'll have to wait until the very end to get the complete list of unwanted guests. As misunderstandings and bodies pile up, Intruders cleverly finds ways to make the worst possible scenario even worse. May 2, 9:45pm, Kabuki; May 7, 9:30pm, Kabuki; May 8, 5:30pm, Kabuki. (Harvey)

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