Sunday, June 11, 2017

Doc Thoughts --- Day 6/112

Walk: Presidio, Vogue Theater DocFest
Distance: 5 miles, small yoga

One reason why Ciwt lives in San Francisco: year round, quality film festivals.  The current one is DocFest in its 17th season of pre-release (if they are picked up by distributors and released at all) excellent documentaries.

Today she was able to walk a couple of blocks to the Vogue Theater for two of the 100 in the festival. The first, Surrounding Game, is about the game gi (Go) - begun long, long ago in China and one of the four arts that were required of the aristocratic ancient Chinese scholar-gentleman caste.  The other three are gin (Stringed Instrument), shu (Chinese calligraphy), and hua (Chinese calligraphy).

Go is multiple degrees more difficult than chess and to call it esoteric would be a vast understatement.  It's also bamboozling for the observor if they are not Go players themselves, so, even though the filmmakers have done an outstanding job capturing viewers' attention, Ciwt wonders whether it would attract a big enough audience to warrant a distributor's investment.  Ciwt (who actually used to play (at) Go around the family game table growing up) hopes so.  It is a deeply fascinating game and highly interesting movie.

The second doc, Spettacolo, will definitely be picked up because it concerns one of Italy's most favored travel destinations, Tuscany.  Specifically the tiny village in that region, Monticchiello, population 136, which has been producing a village play for over 50 years.  The countryside and medeval architecture are gorgeous enough to make you want to live - or at least go - there, which many tourists and a few very rich second-homers do.  But, unfortunately, that urge - along with Italian bureaucratic corruption and modernity - is exactly what is killing the traditional way of life.

It's bittersweet, beautifully filmed, thought-provoking - and Ciwt is quite sure it will be in (an art house) theater near you relatively soon.

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