Month: May 2014

SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL (May 29-June 2)

Navigator.2WEB by Mike Dub and Daniel Barnes

Every year, San Francisco plays host to a film lover’s weekend-long paradise: The San Francisco Silent Film Festival.  This year’s festival, hosted by the glorious Castro Theater, continues its 18-year tradition of showcasing high-quality silent films with live musical accompaniment to an appreciative audience – just the way a silent film should be seen.

Boasting a program of 17 silent features in total, the SFFF presents a treasure trove of silent classics, rarities, and curiosities.  This year’s program offers a parade of artistic and entertaining selections, from highly regarded works from cinematic masters such as Carl Theodore Dreyer (The Parsons Widow) and Yasujiro Ozu (Dragnet Girl), to an early adventure documentary (The Epic of Everest), to the big-budget Soviet science fiction film Cosmic Journey, and plenty more.  We would like to especially recommend the festival’s closing night feature, Buster Keaton’s The Navigator, a great film featuring one of the director’s most elaborate set pieces.

While we here at ESFS were not able to pre-screen all the movies on the festival’s slate (damn day jobs!), we were fortunate enough to get in viewings of the three films we were most interested in heading into the festival.

sept-ans-de-malheur-1921-03-gSeven Years Bad Luck (1921; Dir. Max Linder)

By Mike Dub

Max Linder was one of the key comedians of the silent era.  Before Charlie Chaplin’s tramp became the figurehead of silent comedy, Max Linder’s dapper but dim playboy, winkingly named “Max,” helped to define movie slapstick during cinema’s most formative years.  While his career has become somewhat overlooked in the shadows of The Big Three who followed in his footsteps (Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd), his 1921 release, Seven Years Bad Luck reveals Linder as a charismatic, clever, and unique performer.

Like many silent comedies, the plot of Seven Years Bad Luck is just a loose thread on which to hang a series of inspired gags.  The morning after his bachelor party, Max, a spoiled rogue in the midst of a hangover, breaks a mirror and becomes convinced that the proverbial bad luck he is about to inherit will destroy his relationship with his fiancé, Betty.  In reality, it is not bad luck that threatens his romance, but his own stupidity, sparked by his superstitious fear.  A complicit victim of the tricksters who surround him, Max eagerly embraces every rotten decision he makes.  Unlike Chaplin’s woeful tramp or Keaton’s stonefaced sad sack, Linder does not strain to make Max likable by any means. Ironically, it is exactly Max’s oafishness that makes the film so charming.

Throughout the film, Linder effortlessly glides through a series of visual and physical gags that are playfully crowd-pleasing, but often undercut with an idiosyncrasy capable of turning the conventional into the absurd.  The high point of the film is a magnificent, pre-Marx Brothers mirror gag.  A deft, precise ballet that is as funny as it is technically impressive, in Linder’s hands the scene is also somehow, incredibly, almost believable.

While he doesn’t have Chaplin’s frantic ingenuity or Keaton’s daring stunt work, Linder was a gifted comic with his own sensibilities.  He may not be Chaplin, but then again, he doesn’t need to be.

 

indexDragnet Girl (1933; Dir.: Yasujiro Ozu)

By Daniel Barnes

Although best known for his sensitive and methodical films about post-war Japanese family dynamics, Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu also produced some three dozen silent movies in the pre-war phase of his career. One of the pleasures of his stylish crime film/romantic tragedy Dragnet Girl is the way that you can see a young filmmaker playing at genre tropes, uncharacteristic visual flourishes, and even slapstick, while still nourishing a very Ozu-ian style and perspective.

The luscious Kinuyo Tanaka plays Tokiko, a typist by day and nightclub moll by night, arm candy for a washed-up boxer turned small-time hood named Jijo. They are living the high life, but are still quite poor, and Tokiko supports them both with her meager office job. Although the wannabe criminals in Dragnet 13 wear stereotypical fedoras with black trenchcoats and boast about their “influence,” they are also completely dependent on working women to support them.

After a fledgling boxer named Hiroshi is initiated into the gang, he is deemed a “full-fledged punk,” and immediately goes to his sister to beg for coffee money. The sister works in an RCA record store but unlike Tokiko, she wears a traditional kimono rather than modern clothes, and Joji begins to take an interest. Symbols of western influence dominate the backgrounds of Dragnet Girl, including posters for The Champ and All Quiet on the Western Front.  Ozu was obviously also influenced by western films, and the good girl/bad girl romantic dynamic here could have been lifted from the 1932 Clark Gable movie Red Dust.

Still, indications of the wise and watchful Ozu who would go on to make Floating Weeds and Tokyo Story are all over Dragnet Girl, including the omnipresence of his trademark crouching middle-distance camera set-ups amongst the film’s more overtly stylish compositions and camera movements.  As in the best of Ozu, the small moments are the richest, as when Joji struggles to light a wood stove after returning from a nightclub bash, or the way that their apartment’s electricity turns on automatically.  It’s a bit of social realism in a film that often feels like a dream.

 

GoodBadMan.19WEBThe Good Bad Man (1916; Dir. Allan Dwan)

By Mike Dub

The opening credits alone suggest the film’s distinguished place in history: story by Douglas Fairbanks, directed by Allan Dwan, supervised by D.W. Griffith.  What follows may not be a masterpiece, but it is a brazen, entertaining western that fuses the talents of three major filmmakers of the silent era.

Douglas Fairbanks stars as “Passin’ Through,” a Robin Hood type outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to orphans and single mothers.  Drifting into town during a recent run of robberies, he runs across a villain called “The Wolf,” who aptly sneers and makes unwanted advances on the beautiful Amy (the fetching Bessie Love).  In a sleek 50 minutes, Passin’ Through learns to fall in love, conquers the demons of his past, and saves a town from the bad bad man.

The film is a tongue-in-cheek mix of western tropes, melodrama, and psychology.  Fairbanks imbues his hero with his customary bravado when he is firing a gun.  However, during a love scene, in full self-mockery, he turns Passin’ Through into a bumbling, girl-shy virgin, infantilized by the mystery of his father.  When Amy approaches him for a kiss in an early scene, Passin’ Through literally sprints away from her, hops on a horse and leaves town.  It feels more like a scene out of a Mel Brooks movie than an early western.

Love scenes notwithstanding, Fairbanks carries the film with his trademark cocksureness.  Flaunting his infectious grin (sans moustache) and chiseled physique, Fairbanks charms his way through the silliness of the plotline.  It is not a great film, but it is fun.  What more could you want from Douglas Fairbanks?

 

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival runs from May 29 through June 2.  For more information, including a complete festival schedule, visit: http://www.silentfilm.org/

ESFS Festival #4 Wrap-Up – Psychotherapy on Film

1977_equus1By Mike Dub and Daniel Barnes

MD: Going into this festival, I wanted to concentrate on the subgenres and archetypes of the movie psychiatrist, but after watching these three films, another thread struck me as being prominent to the psychotherapy film: the relationship between prestige and exploitation.  All three films we watched embodied a mix of high art pretensions (A Dangerous Method was the only one not nominated for an Oscar, but it won a slew of other nominations, including a Golden Globe), and the shocking, tabloid sensationalism of crazy people doing crazy things.  It’s a mix that, in retrospect, seems to exist more consistently when dealing with psychiatry than any other field in movies.  Was there anything in particular that stood out for you among these three films?

Three-Faces-of-Eve-1957-Lee-J.-Cobb-Joanne-Woodward-David-Wayne-pic-3DB: That I would be crazy to seek help from a trained psychotherapist.  As I understand it, transference is both a key component and a prime pitfall of the therapist-patient relationship, but that mostly regards transference of emotions and possibly identity.  In both Equus and A Dangerous Method, however, the disturbed patients played by Peter Firth and Keira Knightley merely transfer their debilitating madness directly on to their psychotherapists.  By the end of Equus, Richard Burton’s capable youth psychiatrist wonders if an end to madness might also herald an end to passion and freedom.  A Dangerous Method is structured around a series of dialogues, and delusions are exchanged like a fever – one of the recurring jokes is that Jung (a perfectly calculated Michael Fassbender) repeatedly undermines his carefully composed theories about psychology with his own actions.  Of course, the idea that doctors are crazier than their patients is one of the classic tropes in any film about the human mind, from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to What About Bob?.  The stodgy doctor played by Lee J. Cobb in The Three Faces of Eve is portrayed as decent and kind, but there is also a (probably unintentional) subtext of cruelty and ownership in his methods of treating Joanne Woodward’s multiple-personality patient, which include intentional deception and the use of hypnosis as means of first, last, and only resort.  Eve’s condition is given definition only by the men in her life, including her husband and doctor, but that masculine control also extends to the film’s form (TV journalist Alistair Cooke offers a contextualizing introduction) and style (or lack thereof).  But I’m curious, Dub, since you programmed this festival, why do you think that psychotherapy has been such an exploitable cinematic subject?

equusMD: In addition to all of the easily extracted emotional drama, I think there is another reason that psychiatrists are such fertile film subjects: the fictional psychiatrist highlights just how much about the human mind we don’t know.  Most of us are simply do not know what the hell is going on up there, and because of that, filmmakers are able to construct stories that are almost as much like science fiction as they are mysteries.  That two of our festival films are based on true stories only confounds the relationship between movie-science and entertainment.  Because these worlds are generally unknown, filmmakers are free to create any logic that suits their purpose: a woman’s domestication in the 1950s leads to the construction of an entirely new, rebellious personality; a brutally traumatic childhood molds one into a psychoanalytic iconoclast; the repression of homosexuality leads to horse rape.  Are these things necessarily “realistic”?  Hell, I don’t know… and most of us don’t.  I also didn’t notice 15 physics mistakes in Gravity until Neal deGrasse Tyson pointed them out.  Daniel, I curated and introduced this festival, but I was hoping that you could talk a little bit more about each film.

DM13_44m_eoq8myjeDB: The Three Faces of Eve was easily my least favorite film of the festival, a pulse-less, self-important dud salvaged only by Woodward’s technically superb performance, but even that is undermined by an overbearing male, in this case hack writer-director Nunnally  Johnson.  We don’t need the transformation of prim Eve White into lively Eve Black announced with a horny, red-light sax riff, especially since Woodward plays that sax riff across her face and body.   Equus was pure trash, but I was also pretty captivated by its multilevel narrative structure, the turned-to-11 commitment of the leads, and by director Sidney Lumet’s straitlaced assertion that none of this horsefucking nonsense is as ridiculous as it looks.  The ideas and arguments of Equus probably seemed less silly as abstractions on the stage, but if you were going to do a literal adaptation, you couldn’t do any better than Lumet did here.  A Dangerous Method is the film that I was most pleasantly surprised by – I saw Cronenberg’s movie when it was released in late 2011, and perhaps expecting something more stylistically kinky, I had trouble connecting.  This time around, the poison-tipped comedy swimming just under the surface began to emerge, which is something I think is characteristic of Cronenberg’s work – things that seem clinical and disturbing on first viewing turn into sick comedy on subsequent watches.  My favorite gag in the film comes fairly late – Fassbender’s Jung and his patient/colleague/mistress played by Knightley, attempting to forge a platonic working relationship, arrive at a theory on sex that refutes Viggo Mortensen’s Freud.  Hard cut to spanking.  It’s both a subtle and vulgar use of editing, and for all of the “staginess” in A Dangerous Method, it is something you could not actually replicate on a stage.  Do you think there is anything in the aesthetic nature of movies that makes them particularly suited to telling these kinds of stories?

three-faces-of-eve-the-1957-8MD: Film is a perfect medium to discuss psychology in large part because of its ability to literalize psychology through moving images.  The Three Faces of Eve, for example, depicts Eve’s regression to the catalytic event of her childhood by surrounding Joanne Woodward, Eve’s adult body, with a set that dwarfs her size to that of a child, an infantilized woman trapped by the trauma of her youth.  In Equus, Sidney Lumet creates a dizzying, surreal sex scene in which a disturbed young man rides naked on a horse until he achieves orgasm.  Given the editing, the scope, and the size of the sets, neither of those scenes would have been effective, or even possible, in any other medium (at least at the time that they were made).  And that doesn’t even touch upon the more surreal expressions we have seen in other films – for instance, Salvador Dali’s famous dream sequence in Hitchcock’s Spellbound.

… and your hour is up.  Let’s finish the Psychotherapy on Film festival by ranking and grading each film.

Dub:

1) The Three Faces of Eve (B-)

2) A Dangerous Method (B-)

3) Equus (C)

Daniel:

1) A Dangerous Method (B)

2) Equus (B-)

3) The Three Faces of Eve (C+)

COMING IN JUNE: FESTIVAL #5 – ROHMER’S SIX MORAL TALES

May Netflix Instant Reviews – “Let the Fire Burn”

index2Let the Fire Burn (2013; Dir.: Jason Osder)

GRADE: A-

By Daniel Barnes

Jason Osder’s powerful and disturbing Let the Fire Burn is part of a new wave of media collage documentaries that also includes Brett Morgen’s July 17, 1994 and Penny Lane’s Our Nixon. Rather than offer comforting talking-head context or forcing an agenda down our throats, these multimedia-age stories are told through an assemblage of clips from the period. The effect is more immediate and immersive, and certainly refreshing after a long string of ego-tripping “message” docs, but it is also an essential form for a film where the only “good guys” are powerless and ineffective.

Let the Fire Burn tells a largely forgotten story of abusive cops battling domestic terrorists in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. In 1985, after a decade of confrontations that left one police officer dead (a single murder that resulted in nine convictions), the city of Philadelphia moved to evict the combative MOVE organization from their headquarters in a mostly black blue-collar neighborhood. After firing over 10,000 rounds of ammunition into a building that contained children, the police dropped a C4 explosive on the roof, and allowed the resulting fire to burn so long that it killed 11 people and reduced the neighborhood to rubble.

imagesHowever, Let the Fire Burn does not serve as a tear-streaked elegy for MOVE, who despite their unfair and abusive treatment at the hands of the cops, were clearly a cult-like public nuisance determined to force a confrontation with the city.  Of course, the police were far more willing to engage them in residential shock-and-awe than in diplomacy, and without overstating its case, Let the Fire Burn shows how police tend to respond to problems in black neighborhoods with either overwhelming violent force or not at all.

The film is structured around the investigative process of a citizen commission hearing held several months after the 1985 incident, as well as the aftermath of protests and police abuse. This process was considered so essential to civic harmony that it was broadcast on television with surprisingly high production values. As we listen to corrupt cops, still-delusional ex-MOVE members, and innocent bystanders, Let the Fire Burn becomes a sort of queasy whodunit, and we watch in sickened horror as the inevitable perversion of justice unfurls before us.

At the beginning of the film, we see a flame-scarred child named Birdie, one of the only two survivors of the fire, getting sworn in for a deposition. When he is asked what happens to people who don’t tell the truth, he replies, “They get hurt.” The brilliance of Jason Osder’s documentary lies in the way that it both confirms and undermines that child-like notion. A multiracial commission of level-headed and respected citizens was convened and carried out its charge with dignity and intelligence. That’s inspiring, but this “public self-appraisal,” which found the police, fire department, and Mayor to be negligent, did not result in a single conviction.  The only people who get hurt are the ones whose entire lives go up in flames.

May Netflix Instant Review – “The Piano Teacher”

589479-the-piano-teacher-gallery-landscape-650x488-The Piano Teacher (2001; Dir.: Michael Haneke)

GRADE: B

By Mike Dub

Throughout his well-regarded and controversial career, Michael Haneke has specialized in disturbing violence.  With unnerving precision, Haneke unfurls stories that build delicately to sudden, shocking explosions of blood and death.  In The Piano Teacher, based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, Haneke has found source material right up his alley.  However, while it is a good film, there seems to be something lost in his adaptation, which, in the end, may fall closer to pleasure than pain in watching the title character’s slow crawl into despair. 

The Piano Teacher stars Isabelle Huppert as Erika Kohut, a former piano prodigy who is now a middle-aged spinster teaching at a well-respected conservatory.  She seems to be the most respected teacher there, but she is also the most demanding, callously deriding her students until they are all but incapable of playing, or even until they break down crying.  “A concert pianist must have nerves of steel,” she admonishes one particularly sensitive student, though we can easily sense the sadism underlying her sternness. Erika is a flower that has never blossomed.  Her father died in an asylum just after the Second World War, and her mother (Annie Girardot), a vile and domineering tyrant, has kept her under such lock and key, emotionally as well as physically, that Erika is mired in a confused, middle-aged, virginal adolescence.  Most of the first half of the film is occupied with unveiling Erika’s extraordinarily neurotic adventures.  She sleeps in the same bed as her mother.  She visits a viewing booth in a porn shop and smells the used tissues of men who were in the booth before her.  She cuts herself high on the thigh with a razor.  She wanders a drive-in movie parking lot until she finds a couple having sex in their car, and when she kneels down directly next to them to listen, she allows herself a different kind of pleasure than we are expecting. file_0Then into her life comes Walter, young, good-looking, and a magnificent piano player.  Without much motivation, as is often the case in movies about middle-aged women’s sexuality, he falls in love with Erika when he hears her at a recital.  Admonishing typical genre conventions, Haneke enlists Walter as an ironic Pixie Dream Guy, a beautiful admirer who seems to enter Erika’s life to instill in her a sense of his own breezy, youthful, carpe diem lifestyle, to help her awaken sexually and blossom into the complete women she should be.  Instead, she drags him down into an abyss of sadism, deviance, and repression. Everything in The Piano Teacher is handled with Haneke’s typical visual austerity.  He loves to shoot long scenes, which carry the wonderful quality of unpredictability.  Shot in available light, with limited editing and only diegetic music, his scenes have the fresh, almost rambling sensibility of a Dogma film; however, as each scene unfolds, they reveal a visible, logical, and effective structure.  Several key scenes go on for what seem to be ten minutes or more, respectively building a peculiar sexual tension, from which Haneke, like Erika, denies any kind of release. That visual objectivity may be compelling in the first half, but it is difficult to reconcile it with the sensationalistic violence of the second hour of the film.  With the same visual distance, Erika undergoes a series of humiliating, devastating, and physically brutal experiences, culminating in a scene of shocking violence that Haneke seems to objectively consider as merely the logical, inevitable conclusion to Erika’s twisted sexual journey.  Despite the early sympathy toward Erika’s Freudian nightmare, the climax of the film feels less like ambivalence than comeuppance. That being said, the difficulty of watching The Piano Teacher, like Haneke’s other films (including Funny Games and Cache), is a kind of reward in itself.  Like an erudite Lars von Trier, Haneke seems to take pleasure in the pain he causes his characters.  At times, his approach is effective, alarming, jarring.  Other times, it can feel like he is too proud of himself for going somewhere that movies don’t go – and often don’t need to.  But whatever else they are, his films are controversial, stimulating, and above all else, worth watching.

DARE DANIEL – Jack and Jill

indexJack and Jill (2011; Dir.: Dennis Dugan)

GRADE: D-

By Daniel Barnes

*Dared by Matt B.

Over a decade ago in a college newspaper review of Little Nicky, I wrote, “Adam Sandler is truly his generation’s Jerry Lewis,” with everything great and terrible that statement implies.” It’s a fairly obvious point that has been expanded upon by both supporters and detractors of Sandler’s for years, most recently in an excellent Vulture piece by New York film critic Bilge Ebiri. Besides the obvious symmetry of schizophrenic man-child stock characters, both Lewis and Sandler have the potential to touch the dark and upsetting reaches of the human psyche through their comedy. That’s great, except that Lewis and Sandler also want to be loved and desired, and so that vulgar subversion transforms into sleazy unction without even changing hairstyles.

Sandler’s great dichotomy has always been the divide between underplaying and going over-the-top, between trying too hard and not trying at all. On Saturday Night Live and in his early film roles, he became famous for vacillating between a shy, borderline “special” sort of giggly apathy and pointed, almost terrifying expressions of pure, raging id. Jack and Jill pushes that dichotomy towards its cynical endgame.

images2Playing estranged twins in this utterly repellent PG family comedy, Sandler predictably goes Bond-villain big as the wrecking ball sister, while barely registering as living flesh in the part of the straight-arrow Jack. The fact that his lazy, smirking turn as Jack is ultimately more annoying than his squawking, malaprop-spewing Jill (who at one point rushes into the bathroom with an audible outbreak of the “chocolate squirties”) speaks volumes about the film’s comedic bankruptcy and overall apathy. Clearly, Sandler treats his audience with contempt…and why not? God knows they’ve earned it.

Of course, you could hardly expect more from an actor who freely admits to treating films as working vacations. Perhaps blame can be assigned to director Dennis Dugan – a former television bit player and long-time Sandler collaborator, the 67 year-old Dugan helmed a couple of Sandler’s early comedies (most notably Happy Gilmore) before expanding his cinematic vision with National Security and Beverly Hills Ninja. Ever since 2007, however, he has become Sandler’s house director, and his last six films have all been Sandler “family” comedies. Given the results, it is safe to assume that Dugan also views movie shoots as working vacations.

Not surprisingly, most of the third act in Jack and Jill takes place on a cruise ship, and the film has to bend over backwards to get its characters on this narratively pointless sea voyage alongside extras that look suspiciously like Sandler’s children.  There is an argument that Sandler is right to view his life’s work with such money-grubbing and self-serving contempt, and that the box office successes of Sandler’s high-concept, “family friendly” dreck are their own justifications for existence. To that I can only respond: if profit margins are all that matter, then Sandler would do even better investing in bum fights, snuff films, and hardcore gonzo pornography, so look for all of those lighthearted PG romps in theaters next February.

images3There is a long tradition of cross-dressing in movie comedies, from the silent era to White Chicks, but Jack and Jill continues the sad and pathetic vein of misogyny that has always run through Sandler’s work. Dustin Hoffman’s character in Tootsie dressed in women’s clothes to win a plum role, yet found that he understood and appreciated women more after walking in their shoes. In Jack and Jill, Sandler dresses in women’s clothes to arrive at the conclusion that non-feminine women are disgusting and unlovable wildebeasts.  The “heartwarming” twist to the ending is that Jack pimps his twin sister out to a poor Mexican laborer rather than to a rich Hollywood jerk. All together now: awwwww. Made while she was still Tom Cruise’s hostage wife, Jack and Jill casts an anesthetized-looking Katie Holmes as Adam Sandler’s wife hostage wife, although she’s only around to embody Sandler/Dugan’s other female archetype – the slim, smoking-hot, eye-rolling wife with no personality who abides idiocy and abuse in contented silence.

After a certain point, probably the exact point that Shaquille O’Neal popped up in a stringy gray wig to lick a honey-glazed ham, notions of time and space became meaningless. Jack and Jill boasts a svelte running time of 91 minutes, but there is a single dinner scene that feels longer than all of the dinner parties in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie put together, with the dinner party from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit where dwarves sing songs for half an hour thrown in for good measure. All attempts at wit are an insult to the limitless capacity of the human mind, and only the film’s weird factor keeps it from becoming completely unwatchable.

indexJack is a mid-level commercial director who naturally lives in a lavish mansion, but early on he learns that his job is in jeopardy (“Or something.” “Is he going bankrupt?” “Whatever.” “Should we even write it?” “Fuck it, no one cares.  “Cool, let’s go play frisbee golf.”) unless he can convince the Al Pacino to appear in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial. Pacino plays himself here, and there is also a brief, self-mocking cameo from Johnny Depp, as well as a host of D-list celebs milling in the back of party scenes. I don’t know what convinced Depp and Pacino to debase their legacies even further than they already have, but I am one hundred percent convinced that Michael Irvin and Jared from Subway view the filmmaking process as a paid vacation.

Lest you think Pacino’s part in Jack and Jill is a mere walk-on, let me be clear– Pacino is in this film A LOT, and if you thought he was terrible in Scent of a Woman, then you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Luckily, by the time Pacino completely took over the film, my fourth beer had kicked in, and many of the finer details of the film began to escape the grasp of my consciousness. Sufficed to say that my notes became littered with barely comprehensible scrawls like, “What is Pacino doing?”; “Fuck this movie”; “Pacino = stop”; “Embarrassing”; “Fuck the shit outta this movie”, and “Is Pacino OK?”.  Finally, without even looking down from the screen, I scribbled “farts crotches farts.”

Let me repeat that: “farts crotches farts.”  It’s a sentiment that could easily be the tagline for Jack and Jill, and could just as easily serve as the epitaph for Sandler’s comedic relevance.

*Obviously, Daniel and George C. Scott were not big fans of Jack and Jill, but nevertheless the floor is open for dares for the June Dare Daniel review.  Post your dares here or on our Facebook page, or message your dare to Daniel on Twitter with the hashtag “#daredaniel”. ESFS will return later this week with Netflix Instant reviews of Let the Fire Burn and The Piano Teacher, reviews of films playing in this weekend’s San Francisco International Film Festival, and the wrap-up to our Psychology in Film festival. Our next ESFS Festival, in which we cover all six of French director Eric Rohmer’s Moral Tales, kicks off next Monday.