Did you know that SIFF was originally slated for the world premiere Francis Ford Coppola's latest? It's true - he turned down a Cannes berth in favor of a spotlight showing at SIFF. And then Cannes upped the ante by giving him the opening night slot in the "Director's Fortnight" sidebar. In other words, they made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Okay, so we don't get the world premiere, but we do get Tetro and "An Evening With Francis Ford Coppola," who will be at the June 10 presentation to talk about the film in an onstage Q&A following the screening (details after the jump). And for those willing to pony up $125 for the deluxe package, there's a reception with Coppola before the screening. Co-star Alden Ehrenreich will also attend the reception and the screening (Vincent Gallo, previously announced, was forced to cancel his appearance).
Coppola modulates intimate scenes and mercurial changes in temperament like a master conductor bringing a delicate touch to a bombastic score, drawing rich performances from Gallo and Maribel Verdú (as Tetro's protective girlfriend) and a complex emotional relationship between this unusual but thoroughly convincing couple and Ehrenreich's Bennie. Shot in luminous black and white on digital video, it is a lovingly crafted and visually exquisite film constantly brought low by the operatic revelations and Oedipal weight of past betrayals. It's a personal film, no doubt; Coppola claims the roots were drawn from the contentious relationship between his father and his brother. But there is no resonance as he unveils past tragedies and terrible betrayals of trust, only a kind of incredulity as he heaps all this weight on the tormented Tetro and sinks the film under the pretentions of his Greek drama in modern dress.
Tetro Egyptian 7 p.m. Wed., June 10.