SFIFF Spotlights #2: Thérèse / Chaika / Blackfish

by Carrie Kahn on April 30, 2013

Our coverage of the 56th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) continues with a spotlight on three more festival films.  Check out the SFIFF website for more info and tickets:  http://festival.sffs.org/

(France 2012 105 min; French with English subtitles)

Audrey Tautou as Thérèse.

Audrey Tautou as Thérèse

Cast against type, Audrey Tautou suppresses her inner gamine to mope her way through Thérèse as the title character in French director Claude Miller’s final film. “Marriage will save me from the disorder in my head,” melancholy Thérèse says as she marries for status, not love, in 1920s rural France. Rebellious and unhappy, Thérèse makes decisions with serious consequences for her family. Francophiles will relish the lush cinematography, gorgeous period costumes, and Tautou’s muted performance.

Next showing:
Will open in limited release nationwide on August 23, 2013.


(Spain/Georgia/Russia/France 2012, 100 min; Russian with English subtitles)

Salome Demuria and Gio Gabunia in Chaika

Salome Demuria and Gio Gabunia in Chaika

To paraphrase SNL’s Stefon, if you like stark, moody dramas, then Chaika is for you. This film has it all: a bleak, snowy Siberian landscape, a morose leading lady, soulful stares through hazy cigarette smoke, brutal family jealousies, and an elderly mother who makes Faye Dunaway’s Mommie Dearest look like June Cleaver. Director Miguel Angel Jimenez’s picture about a prostitute, a sailor, and their son offers Americans a rare glimpse into Kazakh and Siberian life.

Next showing:
Sat., May 4th at 3:15PM – Sundance Kabuki Cinemas


(USA 2012, 80 min)

The orca Tilikum in Blackfish

The orca Tilikum in Blackfish

An outstanding documentary, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish is a riveting investigation of marine park practices.  Cowperthwaite uses the fatal orca attack of trainer Dawn Brancheau at Orlando’s SeaWorld in 2010 as a lens to examine the entire idea of such parks. Do they benefit the animals, the employees, the public, and the planet? Interviews with former trainers, OSHA experts, and marine hunters offer compelling evidence that the sea park system needs to change. A must see.

Next showing:
Wed., May 1st, 9:15PM – Sundance Kabuki Cinemas



Carrie Kahn

Moving from the arthouse to the multiplex with grace, ease, and only the occasional eye roll. Proud new member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ann May 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I appreciate the honesty of the review of Terese. While I enjoy Audrey Tautou in most films, I look forward to a muted performance on August 23.


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