In Bruges, 4 months…

Thanks to the San Francisco Film Society, Carol and I just saw 2 outstanding films in two days and they couldn”t have been more different.

Below are plot summaries of each and there are compelling reviews of each on the internet. I will simply say see them when you can.

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We saw 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in the Dolby Screening Room, and the room was an experience in itself. It’s in a renovated brick industrial building South of Market, exquisitely detailed with oak in a crisp art deco style. It seats about 120 in individual armchairs, and since the chairs are large, the room is big enough for a full blown screen. We formed an intimate relationship with the characters during the film and it was a privilege to see it in such a venue.

The New York Times synopsis:
In “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” a ferocious, unsentimental, often brilliantly directed film about a young woman who helps a friend secure an abortion, the camera doesn”t follow the action, it expresses consciousness itself. This consciousness — alert to the world and insistently alive — is embodied by a young university student who, one wintry day in the late 1980s, helps her roommate with an abortion in Ceausescu’s Romania when such procedures were illegal, not uncommon and too often fatal. It’s a pitiless, violent story that in its telling becomes a haunting and haunted intellectual and aesthetic achievement. “4 Months” deserves to be seen by the largest audience possible, partly because it offers a welcome alternative to the coy, trivializing attitude toward abortion now in vogue in American fiction films, but largely because it marks the emergence of an important new talent in the Romanian writer and director Cristian Mungiu. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

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In Bruges

The Film Society held a special screening of Martin McDonagh‘s new film IN BRUGES at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinemas on Tuesday, January 29, at 7:30 pm. Martin McDonagh was in attendance and participated in a Q+A after the film.

The film follows two hit men (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who, after a botched job, are sent on extended leave to Bruges, where they find themselves forced to interact with the townspeople in intriguing and funny ways. The feature debut from Martin McDonagh, the award-winning Irish playwright and Academy Award winner for his short Six Shooter, opened this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which described it as “deliriously funny, pointed and perverse, yet sad, thoughtful and infused with a moral vision that resonantly reflects today’s surreal world.” The film opens in the Bay Area on February 9.

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