A Music Nerd’s Guide To The San Francisco International Film Festival

by Dakin Hardwick on April 14, 2010

As a world class city, we get some pretty impressive events. Often times, these events tend to pile on top of each other, such as Fauxchella overlapping with the San Francisco International Film Festival. Of course, piling into clubs night after night can seriously wear on even the most enthused music fan, and sometimes it’s pleasant to sit in a seat in an air conditioned theater. That’s where we can serve you. There are plenty of ways to enjoy your time as a music nerd at the SF International Film Festival, and this is your guide. Ticket information can be found here.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

One of the best things about this event is the annual indie rock/silent film collaboration at the Castro Theater. This year’s event gives us the genius of Stephin Merritt, along with a few members of his combo The Magnetic Fields, doing the Stuart Paton’s 1916 classic film 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Since everything Merritt does turns to gold, expect nothing less than perfection at this performance.

Tuesday, May 4th at The Castro Theater, 8:30 PM

A Conversation With T-Bone Burnett

T-Bone Burnett is a genius. He might be the greatest producer of all time. He does know how to make a mixtape, especially when accompanying a film. Heck, he even won a Grammy for Album Of The Year for his work on O Brother Where Art Thou? This event is a must for anyone that has ever wanted a career in music on any level.

Saturday, April 24th at The Kabuki, 6:00 PM

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

When Stravinsky introduced  “The Rite Of Spring” in 1913, it was the kind of divisive event that I don’t think could happen today. The only event that comes close to this in modern history was Bob Dylan’s electric set at the Newport Folk Festival.  This movie follows his time recovering from the risk, as well as his relationship with Coco Chanel, the first rock star/fashion designer super couple.  (RIP Malcolm Mclaren)

Sunday, April 25th at The Kabuki, 12:30 pm

Monday, April 26th at The Kabuki, 9:15 PM

The Famous & The Dead

The story of a 16-year old Bob Dylan fan growing up in Brazil. Although I’ve yet to see it, all press indicates that this film will be a fascinating portrayal of life growing up as an obsessive music fan, and how that affects ones’ judgment and experiences.

Saturday, April 24th at The Pacific Film Archive, 6:40 PM

Thursday, April 29th at Kabuki, 9:45 PM

Saturday, May 1st at Kabuki, 6:45 PM

Gainsbourg (Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus)

Serge Gainsbourg is one of the greatest songwriters in the history of music. This film spans Gainsbourg’s entire life, from growing up in Nazi-occupied France, to becoming one of the biggest stars to ever come out of France. This promises to be the kind of biopic that shows how one’s life experiences can be turned into classic art.

Tuesday, April 27th at Kabuki, 6:00 PM

Wednesday, April 28th at Kabuki, 3:00 PM

Friday, April 30th at Kabuki, 3:15 PM

The Music Room

Another film about the obsessiveness of being a music fan. This time around, it’s from the perspective of an aristrocrat in turn of the (20th) century India that spends all of his wealth on lavish concerts.  This film, from 1958, has been painstakingly restored, and is a piece of cinematic history that any film or music lover should see.

Saturday, May 1st at The Castro, 2:30 PM

Sunday, May 2nd at The Pacific Film Archive, 6:15 PM


A documentary about a piano tuner, and his relationship with the concert pianists that he works for. This could be a very dry & boring affair. This could also be a fascinating look at obsessive perfectionism, and what it takes to get there. Most likely it’s the latter…

Sunday, April 25th at Pacific Film Archive, 4:00 PM

Thursday, April 29th at Kabuki, 6:00 PM

Sunday, May 2nd at Kabuki, 1:15 PM

Rejoice and Shout

This is a documentary that spans 200 years’ worth of the history of gospel music. This, of course, means it tells the history of pop music as a whole, and includes footage of such musical pioneers as Sister Rosetta Tharpe (one of the first electric guitarists to experiment with feedback and distortion), Mahalia Jackson, Smokey Robinson, and The Staples Singers.

Saturday, April 24th at Kabuki, 2:00 PM

Thursday, April 29th at Kabuki, 9:00 PM

Simonal: No One Knows How Tough It Was

Rising to fame can be a funny thing, especially during the Brazilian music craze of the 60’s. This tells the tale of one of it’s biggest stars, who killed his career by making some poor decisions.

Friday, April 23rd at Kabuki, 6:45 PM

Saturday, May 1st at Kabuki, 9:45 PM

Tuesday, May 4th at Kabuki, 3:15 PM

Night Catches Us

Not a music film in the traditional sense, but The Roots provide the score this tale of a former Black Panther who returns home for his father’s funeral in 1976 Philadelphia.

Friday, Apr 30th at Kabuki, 4:15 PM
Monday, May 3rd at Kabuki, 6:30 PM
Wednesday, May 5th at Kabuki,  9:00 PM

Ride With The Devil: Director’s Cut

Remember when you were 14, and you first saw the video for “Who Will Save Your Soul”? You thought Jewel was hot. Then in 1999, you learned that she had a nude scene in a movie, so you regressed back to your 14 year old self and saw the film anyways, only to find that all she does is breast feed in the movie? Well, here’s your chance to relive that moment, only longer.

Saturday, May 1st at Kabuki, 1 PM

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brian April 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

The Music Room really is a wonderful film, perhaps my favorite of all time from the Indian Subcontinent. A great portrait of a real “Music Nerd” to use your term.

It’s worth noting that Bruce Fowler, trombonist who played on Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Eric Clapton and Oingo Boingo records among others, composed underscore for festival film Seducing Charlie Barker, and is expected to attend the festival.

Also, The Quavers will provide live musical accompaniment to Sam Green’s multimedia film/performance Utopia in Four Movements, which promises to be a strong evening.


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