The Black Market: San Francisco Image

Through experimental storytelling innovations in filmmaking are made. In The Black Market: San Francisco, Alexander Roman infuses dark noir with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), which uses sound to elicit calming, tingling sensations emanating from the head-to-spine. But what is its effect when used within a fictional narrative?

The feature-length film takes place today and is set in a little-known underworld of San Francisco. O’Hara’s Art Gallery & Rare Bookstore is the center of the action. Owning and operating any business in San Francisco is not easy as it’s incredibly expensive, and small businesses often resort to less-than-legitimate ventures to “pad the books.” Joe (David L. Klein), the co-owner, is the leader of the city’s black market operations; I hesitate to say mafia.

“…the trio tries to hide their illegal organs-for-sale operation from a private investigator…”

Under his leadership, the other black-market business owners are kept in check, and relative peace has reigned for a long time. But Joe is dying of kidney failure, and the current peace hangs in the balance as vultures circle his deteriorating body. So with the help of his employees, Elsa (Christina Ros) and Jess (Stevie Vallejo), Joe must find a black market kidney (and doctor), as well as keep the vultures at bay. All the while, the trio tries to hide their illegal organs-for-sale operation from a private investigator, Correli (Brandon Michael Hall).

The Black Market: San Francisco is not what you think it is. Though the undertones are about the city’s clandestine operations, the movie’s theme is about the spirit of San Francisco. It spotlights the community and benevolence of the city’s residence and those who choose to work there. O’Hara’s is not just a store selling art and books but also supports artists and writers looking for a place to sell their work. It even opens with Elsa helping a client in need by selling grandfather’s letters with a famed columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle. Then, she enlists another local artist to package the letter in a shadowbox to increase its beauty and value.

The Black Market: San Francisco (2021)

Directed and Written: Alexander Roman

Starring: Christina Ros, Stevie Vallejo, David L. Klein, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

The Black Market: San Francisco Image

"…infuses dark noir with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)..."

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