San Francisco International Film Festival: A Game Plan

24 04 2010

Film festivals rule. Last year I missed the SFIFF and consequently had to wait another year to watch La Mission. So I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll be in San Francisco a lot in the next couple of weeks. Check in periodically for reviews of some of the films I’ll be watching. Below, the story that ran in today’s edition of the San Mateo Daily Journal. 

San Francisco International Film Festival: A Game Plan
By Julio Lara Daily Journal Staff

The San Francisco Film Society has rolled out the 53rd edition of its film festival. With 150 films over two weeks, it is widely regarded as an important stop on the international festival circuit and will definitely be the place to be if you’re a movie aficionado.
For cinematic fans, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a delicious buffet of incredible story-telling by some filmmaking visionaries with whom we are familiar and others that are up-and-coming like Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, Jordan Scott and Ciro Guerra.
You really can’t go wrong with a festival like this.
But pace yourself, come to the understanding that you won’t get to them all no matter how many Red Bulls you down or your superior knowledge of the San Francisco streets. My advice: Download the mini-guide, sit down, do some homework and form a game plan, a blueprint of how to make the best of the next two weeks of cinematic gold. Or you can just copy mine.

Stop No. 1 — “Cracks”
This film opens Saturday night at the Kabuki Theater and it’s one of those instances where you check out an up-and-coming director in Jordan Scott (who makes her directorial debut with this film). If the name sounds familiar it’s because Scott is related to three other directors who bear the same last name (Ridley, Tony, Jake). If the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, then this should be a treat. The film stars Eva Green, known mostly for her role as a Bond girl in “Casino Royale,” Juno Temple, Imogen Poots and Maria Valverde.

Stop No. 2 — “Vengeance”
Hong Kong meets France in the latest gem by Johnnie To in which French actor and singer Johnny Hallyday plays a Parisian restaurant owner who is in Macau at the request of his daughter to avenge a savage attack on her family. For those who love a good revenge thriller, shootouts in the moonlight and unreal action sequences, To’s latest is a can’t miss. “Vengeance” opens Tuesday, April 27 at the Kabuki.

Stop No. 3 — “You Think You’re the Prettiest …”
I’ll admit, what draws me to this picture is the title, which is incomplete above but can be enjoyed fully by heading over to the SFFS website. But it’s not all in the name — there a couple of key words in the synopsis, mainly soccer, heartbreak and beautiful girls, that draw me to the movie. Directed by Che Sandoval, this Hispanic film explores what happens when the man figures out that it actually isn’t a man’s world and that women are actually in charge. “You Think …” opens April 28.

Stop No. 4 — “Get Low”
For those looking to find familiar stars at the SFIFF there’s “Get Low,” a film staring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray andSissy Spacek, is for you.
The star power in this film is enough to draw you to the Castro Theater April 30. For me, it’s an interesting concept — the movie is about a man who decides to throw his own funeral … while he’s alive. “Get Low” is directed by Aaron Schneider.




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