Monday, April 2, 2018

2018 San Francisco International Film Festival

The San Francisco International Film Festival kicks off this Wednesday night, and every year it comes around, I have fantasies of taking the two+ weeks it runs off, and just taking in as many movies as I possibly can in that span. I probably wouldn't see much daylight, but daylight is overrated anyway.

Alas, that's not possible, so instead, I comb through the schedule, make time for the movies I can, and make note of those I can't, in the hopes that they'll eventually get some kind of general release (something that's becoming more assured with the increase in streaming services, including from SFFILM itself).

Of course, it's not just the movies themselves; it's being able to see filmmakers and actors talk about their work; it's the tributes to legends; and, of course, the opening and closing night parties. Here's a dozen or so (and that's just scratching the surface!) films and events that instantly piqued my interest.

Opening Night: A Kid Like Jake
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 7:00 p.m. Castro Theatre

Transparent director Silas Howard is scheduled to make an appearance at the opening night premiere of his new film starring Claire Danes and Jim Parsons as parents of a possibly transgender child. The opening night party follows at the Design Center Galleria.

Friday, April 6, 2018 6:00 p.m. Creativity Theater
Sunday, April 8, 2018 2:15 p.m. Victoria Theatre

If you're going to make a list of the best films of the 1970s, director Hal Ashby's name is going to appear on that list at least once, maybe twice, and possibly even six times. Amy Scott's documentary takes a look at his life and work, through his own words, and the words of those who worked with him.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Friday, April 6, 2018 9:00 p.m. Castro Theatre

Neil Gaiman and John Cameron Mitchell team up for this tale of aliens and British punks in 1970's London. I probably don't need to say more than that, except that Mitchell and Gaiman are expected to attend this presentation, so you'll have to camp out pretty early to get tickets!

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Saturday, April 7, 2018 3:00 p.m. Victoria Theatre
Monday, April 9, 2018 12:30 p.m. Creativity Theater

The trailer for this documentary about Mr. Rogers went viral a few weeks back, and I know it made me tear up watching it. Mr. Rogers was never cool, and if you admitted to watching him past a certain age, you were probably made fun of. These days it feels like it's those kids who made fun of Mr. Rogers who are winning, and championing kindness is no longer a societal priority. That's where the tears come in.

Tickets are at rush, but this one is definitely getting a theatrical release, so hang tight if you can't get into the festival's presentation.

A Tribute to Wayne Wang: Smoke
Saturday, April 7, 2018 7:30 p.m. Dolby Cinema at 1275 Market

This tribute to the Bay Area filmmaker doesn't feature one of his San Francisco-set films, alas, but the 1995, Brooklyn-set Smoke does feature a great performance by Harvey Keitel, and the opportunity to see it at the amazing Dolby Cinema theater shouldn't be passed up.

Saturday, April 7, 2018 10:00 p.m. Roxie Theater
Monday, April 9, 2018 9:00 p.m. Roxie Theater

One of the things I appreciate the most about the Festival is that every year they feature horror and genre films in their "Dark Wave" series of late night screenings. This rape Revenge thriller from France doesn't look like it's for the weak-hearted, but it certainly couldn't arrive at a better time.

Tribute to Charlize Theron: Tully
Sunday, April 8, 2018 7:30 p.m. Castro Theatre

Yes, Theron is scheduled to appear at this tribute which includes a screening of Tully, her second collaboration (the amazing Young Adult was the first) with director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody.

A Celebration of Oddball Films with Marc Capelle's Red Room Orchestra
Monday, April 9, 2018 Castro 8PM

If you've ever been to a screening of films at the Oddball Films archives in the Mission, I bet your brain instantly brings up memories of the smell of the place. It smells like movies. Sadly, Stephen Parr, the curator and master of the collection, passed away last year, and this evening pays tribute to the man and his cinematic passions, with a live performance by the Red Room Orchestra.

Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 9:00 p.m. Victoria Theatre
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:00 p.m. Creativity Theater
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 4:00 p.m. Victoria Theatre

I'll admit, it's the title alone that got me interested in this one. But in this case, this documentary about a Spanish matriarch who indeed lived her life goals of lots of kids, a castle, and a monkey, and has a hoarded castle to prove it, may live up to its title.

Centerpiece: Sorry to Bother You
Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:30 p.m. Castro Theatre
Thursday, April 12, 2018 8:00 p.m. Grand Lake Theatre

Bay Area musician Boots Riley makes his directorial debut with this surreal comedy set in Oakland. It kind of defies explanation, so I recommend watching the trailer, and then buying your tickets ASAP.

Godard, Mon Amour
Saturday, April 14, 2018 5:00 p.m. Victoria Theatre
Sunday, April 15, 2018 8:15 p.m. BAMPFA

This biopic focuses on the late 1960s life and career of nouvelle vague icon Jean-Luc Godard, and his relationship with actress Anne Wiazemsky as they get swept up into the social movements sweeping France.

Bad Reputation
Saturday, April 14, 2018 8:00 p.m. Castro Theatre

Joan Jett is scheduled to make an appearance at the screening of this documentary about one of rock and roll's most legendary rockers.

Closing Night: Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot
Sunday, April 15, 2018 7:00 p.m. Castro Theatre

Did you know Gus Van Sant released a film last year starring Matthew McConaughey, set at the "Suicide Forest" in Japan? Because I sure didn't! Luckily, it sounds like Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot, Van Sant's latest, is getting better buzz, and a bigger release. It stars Joaquin Phoenix as quadriplegic Portland cartoonist John Callahan, and looks to include the offbeat humor that made Van Sant such a 90's darling. The director is scheduled to appear at this closing night screening, along with composer Danny Elfman.

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