More spotlights from the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), which ends this Thursday, May 9th. Tickets for screenings still available at: http://festival.sffs.org/
Fill the Void
(Israel 2012, 90 min; Hebrew with English subtitles)
In this Israeli Film Academy Best Picture winner, director Rama Burshstein takes us inside the Tel Aviv Hassidic community. Shira (Hadas Yaron) is a conflicted young woman under pressure to marry her recently deceased sister’s husband. Hadas Yaron, resembling Greta Gerwig both physically and stylistically, deftly conveys Shira’s uncertainty and vulnerability. At the Q&A I attended, Burshstein called the film a “journey of feeling,” an apt description of this beautiful meditation on commitment and love.
No U.S. release date yet; has been playing film festivals.
(USA 2013, 94 min)
Director David Gordon Green remakes an Icelandic comedy here, which may explain this film’s quirky sensibility. Essentially a two-character study, the film examines the dynamics between Alvin (Paul Rudd, almost unrecognizable in bad 80’s glasses and facial hair) and his girlfriend’s immature kid brother, Lance (a Jack Black-esque Emile Hirsch); they spend summer, 1988 painting roads in Texas after devastating fires. Green skillfully balances absurd comedy and serious drama to explore masculinity and male friendship.
Opens nationwide August 9, 2013.
The Way, Way Back
(USA 2013, 96 min)
Writer-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (co-writers of The Descendants) score again with this stunning coming-of-age comedy. Fourteen-year-old Duncan (Liam James) gains confidence from his summer waterpark job and his friendship with a park manager (a stellar Sam Rockwell). Standout performances by Steve Carrell (subduing his warm, fuzzy side), Allison Janney (hilarious as a cocktail-loving neighbor), and Liam James, brilliantly conveying the confusion and angst of youth, make this film my Fest favorite so far.
Opens nationwide July 5, 2013.