~ kusala
[ ku-sa-la: Pali term meaning wholesome, skillful, good, meritorious. ]
[ Action characterized by this quality (kusala-kamma) is bound to result (eventually) in happiness and a favorable outcome. ]


2006-02-02 - 10:20 a.m.

SB International Film Fest 2006

I was feeling lukewarm about this up until the last few days, but I'm once again excited about the film festival, which has always been one of my favorite annual events here. I don't really give a s**t about the celebrity factor, which seems to be getting pumped up nowadays by the organizers, though the roster they have lined up for guest appearances to receive special awards does seem quite impressive this year: George Clooney, Naomi Watts, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman [confession: I've never been a huge PSH fan for some reason, but I know I must make an effort to see Capote. Yes, H., I know. I really should...].

I'm hoping to see a large chunk of the following list, but I know I'm really going to need to trim this somehow:

2 Girls (Turkey)
Two girls quickly hit it off and go free-wheeling through the streets of Istanbul.

C.R.A.Z.Y. (Canada)
This beautifully observed coming-of-age story, set in suburban Catholic Quebec, follows the travails of young Zac and his family from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Commune (Documentary)
A documentary on the Black Bear Ranch Commune, an alternative living community founded in 1968 in the remote North Californian wilderness.

El Taxista Ful (Spain)
Jose R. develops a routine as a cab driver on the streets of Barcelona. His life would be the same as any other 52-year-old cab driver if it weren?t for the fact that the taxis he drives are stolen. Jose steals to be able to work. How can such an absurd situation develop? Is he simply crazy or a worker out of a job who has been doomed by the System and forced into this situation?

Estamira (Brazil)
Estamira, a 63-year-old schizophrenic, has toiled for over two decades at the waste disposal site in Rio de Janeiro. This sensitive documentary deals with the global problem of human waste and the subterfuges that the mind creates in order to overcome a reality sometimes too arduous to endure.

Filhas Do Vento (Brazil)
Assembling the largest cast of black actors ever seen in a Brazilian film, this first fiction feature film by acclaimed documentarian Araujo is a moving and complex story about redemption between sisters, mothers, and daughters.

Heading South (France)
The setting is a beach resort in late 70s Haiti, where middle-aged North American women go to be sexually pampered by young black men, rewarding them with economic and quasi-maternal favours. (starring Charlotte Rampling)

Holy Lola (France)
Two longtime lovers yearn for a child, but become disheartened as they travel from orphanage to orphanage in Cambodia. But somewhere in this country is their future and it has a name... Holy Lola!

The Last Bissu (Documentary)
The story of Puang Matoa Saidi, the high priest of an ancient Indonesian transvestite order chosen in 1941. Once all powerful, their gradual demise began as the system of royal courts declined and government forces, intolerant of unorthodox religious beliefs and transvestite behavior, nearly annihilated them. Once numbered in the hundreds, the sect itself seems close to extinction with the Arajang, the sacred relic house, near dilapidation and by the end of the 20th century a mere handful of adherents in hiding, fearing for their lives

Malas Temporadas (Spain)
Set in the heart of Madrid, this is the tale of Mikel, Ana and Carlos, people searching for their place in the world, a place increasingly more distant from the one they had imagined, leaving them the only solution of starting to try and achieve it based on reality.

Meth (Documentary)
Explores the rising wave of crystal methamphetamine use within the gay population.

Rain In A Dry Land (Documentary)
A searingly intimate portrait of two Somali families who discover new challenges in 21st century America.

Sequins (France)
Seventeen-year-old Claire Moutiers has managed quite well since moving off her parents farm and into a quaint studio in Angoulemeare. But now, it is all jeopardized by a secret she’s been concealing from her family, friends and gossipy co-workers: shes pregnant.

Sisters-In-Law (Cameroon)
The only documentary selected for the 2005 Directors Fortnight in Cannes, this is a totally fascinating, often hilarious look at the work of one small courthouse in Cameroon where the tough-minded state prosecutor and court president help women in their Muslim village find the courage to fight abuse.

Un Año Sin Amor (Argentina)
An audacious film that dares to place its HIV+ protagonist in the S&M leather scene of Buenos Aires, in defiance of his deteriorating health. He continues to cruise the city where his encounters reveal an ambitious, gifted man forced to come to terms with his mortality.

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