SF International Film Festival where I saw a fair number of empty seats. ¡Vivan las antipodas! is a non-fiction film compiled from footage shot in 4 pairs of locations that are exactly opposite one another on the globe. We see, for instance, a shepherd with too many cats in Patagonia, Chile who lives at the antipode of a woman living in a farmhouse at Lake Baikal, Russia. There is no commentary & no apparent pattern to how the footage is assembled, though the film is beautiful & looks like outtakes from a National Geographic special. Shots are often upside-down, & the soundtrack likes to use mismatched music for the locales, so we travel through the narrow streets of Shanghai while listening to a tango. About a half-dozen people walked out of the screening.
Director Victor Kossakovsky was present for a Q&A. After having just traveled 24 hours to get here, he was rumpled, jet-lagged & rambling. He ignored festival programmer Audrey Chang's 1st question, instead turning to the audience to let us know that the dog we saw go missing in the lava fields of Hawaii is now safely living in San Francisco. Mr. Kossakovsky's stories about the film shed more light on his ideas than the film itself. He also claimed that Sundance received 10,000 submissions, & that there is really no reason to make even more films. He asked us why American documentaries are only about solving social problems. He complained that he had a half-empty screening, because European producers make their money out of the production costs of a film, as opposed to American producers, who make their money out of distribution. There isn't even a poster for ¡Vivan las Antipodas!, because his producer told him it costs too much money.
§ ¡Vivan las antipodas!
director, Victor Kossakovsky
Germany/Netherlands/Argentina/Chile, 2011, 104 min
55th San Francisco International Film Festival
Mon, Apr 23 1:30 / Kabuki
Thu, Apr 26 6:00 / FSC
Mon, Apr 30 9:00 / PFA