SFIFF Spotlights #2: Coherence/Heaven Adores You/The Two Faces of January/If You Don’t, I Will

by Chad Liffmann on April 26, 2014

Spinning Platters highlights some films from the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), which runs from April 24th through May 8th. Program notes and tickets available at: http://www.sffs.org/festival-home/attend/film-guide

Coherence
(USA, 2013, 89 min.)

Emily Baldoni in James Byrkit's COHERENCE

Emily Baldoni in James Byrkit’s COHERENCE

This low budget mind bender focuses on a dinner party of four couples on a night where a comet passes over Earth, causing some strange occurrences. Director James Ward Byrkit utilized an experimental production process by which he provided the actors with notes for each scene but no script, allowing for truly real reactions, spontaneous behavior, and improvised lines.  Perfect editing and stellar performances create a palpable tension that’s both haunting and personal.  The result is a tightly bound science-fiction indie crowd pleaser that delights with its twists and turns, keeping us guessing from the first to last frame…and afterwards.

Screenings:

  • Tuesday, April 29th, 9:45 PM, Kabuki

Tickets: http://www.sffs.org/festival-home/attend/film-guide/coherence#.U1vag-ZdVU1

Heaven Adores You
(USA, 2014, 96 min.)

Elliott Smith, the subject of Nickolas Rossi's HEAVEN ADORES YOU

Elliott Smith, the subject of Nickolas Rossi’s HEAVEN ADORES YOU

If you’ve heard Elliott Smith’s music, you likely have the impression that he led a life of heartache and sadness until his tragic suicide in 2003.  But there’s more to him than most of us know.  Regarded as one of the most prolific indie singer-songwriters of his generation, Elliott Smith influenced the Portland underground musical renaissance, his popularity reaching uncomfortable heights in 1998 when he performed his Oscar nominated song, Miss Misery (Good Will Hunting), at the awards show.  Nickolas Rossi’s documentary is a gorgeous recounting of Smith’s life, beautiful and troublesome, and the influence he had on everyone.

Screenings:

  • Monday, May 5th, 9:00 PM, Kabuki
  • Wednesday, May 7th, 3:45 PM, Kabuki
  • Thursday, May 8th, 6:00 PM, New People Cinema

Tickets: http://www.sffs.org/festival-home/attend/film-guide/heaven-adores-you#.U1vbOOZdVU1

The Two Faces of January
(USA/UK/France, 2014, 97 min.)

Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac, and Kirsten Dunst in Hossein Amini's THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY

Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac, and Kirsten Dunst in Hossein Amini’s THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY

Adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel, the debut directorial effort from Hossein Amini (screenwriter, Drive/Wings of the Dove), is a thrilling drama set on location in Greece and Turkey and features a tone and production design paying homage to the films and culture of the 1960s.  A Hitchcockian presence is apparent throughout the course of the film, from the heart-pulsing score to the shifting camera movements.  Powered with stellar performances from the three main stars, The Two Faces of January continues the strong cinematic influence of Highsmith’s words, as many of us remember from The Talented Mr. Ripley.

If You Don’t, I Will
(France, 2013, 102 min.)

Emmanuelle Devos and Mathieu Amalric in Sophie Fillieres' IF YOU DON'T, I WILL.

Emmanuelle Devos and Mathieu Amalric in Sophie Fillieres’ IF YOU DON’T, I WILL.

Sophie Fillières’ thoughtful yet tough-to-watch dissection of a married couple facing the unspoken realization that their relationship is on the verge of breaking apart is honest and unflinching.  The chemistry between Emmanuelle Devos and Mathieu Amalric is heartbreakingly real.  As we follow each through their method of self-discovery and life epiphanies, forced through a series of physical and emotional separations, we are drawn into their uniue introspective battles and yearn for reconciliation.

Screenings:

  • Wednesday, April 30th, 6:15 PM, Kabuki
  • Friday, May 2nd, 9:15 PM, Kabuki

Tickets: http://www.sffs.org/festival-home/attend/film-guide/if-you-don%E2%80%99t-i-will#.U1veAOZdVU0

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