What I Wanna See at SIFF

Maybe a better way to start would be, "What haven't I already seen for SIFF this year?" In the crush to review as many movies as possible for this guide (and it's still never enough!), is there anything left for this bleary-eyed critic to view? Yesdespite promises to slim down, SIFF has bloated back to about 220 features and docs this year, and here's what I'm still jonesing to watch.

The Harvey Pekar biopic American Splendor for its alternating documentary-commenting-on-a-dramatization structure (even though I abhor most comic-book movies, from Ghost World to Daredevil to X2). Let's hope its hybrid conceit will pound another nail in the traditional movie- narrative coffin.

So Close. Two hot chicks. Lots of Hong Kong martial-arts action. Enough said.

On a related topic, a more serious side of the martial-arts flick industry should emerge in Traces of the Dragon: Jackie Chan and His Lost Family, a documentary that places the star in the context of the postrevolutionary diaspora from mainland China to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. It turns out "Chan" isn't even Jackie's real name. Who knew?

Love and Diane has already been praised by SW's Mark D. Fefer in these pages, but I can never get enough of depressing documentaries. The more depressing, the better. Then there's Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator, which sounds like Dogtown and Z-Boys with all the happy stuff left out.

Two words: Ping Pong.

As a weekend climber who'll never scale "The Nose" route on Yosemite's El Cap, I'm a sucker for the documentary Vertical Frontier. Yesclimbing's about as exciting as golf to watch (We . . . move . . . very . . . slowly, thenfallveryfast), but Yosemite is a gorgeous national treasureand I also go for landscape porn.

Ooohanother grim tale of oppressed women in Iran? I am so up for that. I, Taraneh, Am Fifteen sounds like it covers the same dark ground as The Circle, meaning I'll stand in line.

Even more delicious suffering is promised in the documentary Overnight, apparently about some indie-film assholewhy does this sound so familiar?who got too big for his britches after Miramax anointed him the Next Big Thing. Instead, he became the Next Big Failure. Love that.

L'Auberge Espagnole seems a sure bet from the track record of director C餲ic Klapischplus there's the appeal of Am鬩e, a.k.a. Audrey Tautou. But, C餲ic, I'm begging you: Save Garance Clavel (When the Cat's Away) from the ignominy of French TV movies. (OK, OK. I'm thinking ahead to SIFF '04and could you maybe also bring her to the fest?)

As for The Animatrix? Don't hate me because I've already got it on DVD.


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