Monday, July 13, 2015

July 11, 2015

I don't want to give the impression that the Pacific coast off San Francisco is constantly fogged in. We went out to the Sutro Baths this past Saturday in hopes of seeing some migrating whales. We saw one ambiguous splash but the view was beautiful.


There were an unusual number of small boats out at sea and also an unusual number of small planes above us. Presumably they had all read the same whale watching article in the Chronicle that we had. It was clear enough to see the Farallon Islands which are 30 miles away.



Here's a closer view.


Monday, July 6, 2015

July 4, 2015

If any of our dear readers felt overheated on the Fourth, you could have cooled off at Ocean Beach. The fog stayed above 500 feet so we could actually see out to sea.


Everyone was sensibly dressed.


Madame Le Chef and I decided that this couple was either attempting or succeeding at having sex under this voluminous cover, protected by their noble canine companions.


Here's a G Rated celebration of the holiday. Hooray for the Red, White and Blue.






Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's the Sky Again

June 27 2015. The first picture was taken at 6:12 PM. The last picture was taken at 8:50 PM.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Incendies

Sometimes a great film fails to register on The Bureau's radar when it comes out. This was the case with Canadian director Denis Villeneuve's "Incendies" which was nominated for a Foreign Film Oscar in 2011. The bureau chief recently noticed increased references to the film which were most likely connected to the director's increasing reputation. His latest film "Sicario" with Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro was in this year's Cannes Film Festival. I decided to take a look at "Incendies".

It's from a play of the same name by Wajdi Mouawad and stars an amazing actress named Lubna Azabal as Nawal Marwan, an Arab immigrant to Canada. It's set in contemporary times in that country and in an unnamed country in the Middle East. It's both a mystery and a classic tragedy. Nawal dies suddenly from a stroke and in her will asks her adult children, who are twins, a brother and sister, to find their father and a brother they did not know existed and to give each of them a letter. The brother refuses the request but the sister, Jeanne, played by the very good Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, accepts. She goes to the Middle Eastern country and as she finds things out about her mother we see Narwal in flashbacks going through the events that the daughter has discovered. When Jeanne stumbles upon darker and darker things, she demands that her brother help her and he comes to the Middle East accompanied by the executor of the will, a notary who was the Narwal's employer. Ultimately they stumble upon the truly dark thing.

By all means do not read the Wikipedia article on this film before you watch it since it gives away the complete plot. This is a tough film to watch but it's also amazing. If you like it, the "making of" extra included in the DVD is well worth a look.The film was shot in Jordan and refugees from Iraq, Lebanon and Syria were not just extras but played some of the speaking roles. They were reenacting things that had happened to them in real life.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

San Francisco Late May

Marlboro cowboy?


Friends of the cowboy?





3300 Club.




Spell house?




Rainbow Grocery art.







I believe it.




Unfortunately, the tent is not part of the art.




Dream car.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Same With a Twist

The bureau chief has a new camera with a lot of features. I decided to try it out on a familiar subject.


It actually has a sunset setting.



It never looks exactly like the human eye sees it, but it's beautiful in its own right.


The twilight city.

 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wild Tales

In the beginning, The Bureau consisted mostly of film reviews, but in the last few years it's become more of a venue for photos, particularly photos of rapidly changing San Francisco. However, the bureau chief is happy to return to films when something notable comes along. "Wild Tales" is an Argentinian black comedy made by Damián Szifron. It's his first feature although he's done work in television. It consists of six stories on the themes of injustice and revenge. It's brilliant, violent and hilarious. It reminded me of how I felt when I first saw Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction".

It was nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar but lost out to Pawel Pawlikowski's "Ida" which is also an excellent film, but beautiful and sad while "Wild Tales" is completely exhilarating. I surprised myself by watching three of the five Foreign Film nominees this year. The third was Abderrahmane Sissako's "Timbuktu" which is also excellent and also beautiful and sad.

The first of the six tales in "Wild Tales" is a tiny masterpiece before the title that sets the mood for the whole movie. If "Wild Tales" is no longer in the theaters, I urge you to rent it as soon as it's available.