Welcome film lovers and moviegoers to the Spinning Platters coverage of the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). Bookmark this site because we’ll be bringing you tons of SFIFF coverage: previews, film spotlights, interviews, and special events coverage. Per usual, our spotlights will cover the films that you’re already excited to see, as well as many titles that you haven’t heard of. SFIFF program notes and tickets are available here.
We’ll be continuing our coverage this week and throughout the Festival. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the special events in store and then five of the festival films:
Opening Night Film & Party — Info and Tickets
Film: Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine
*Opening Night Party – 9:00 pm, Madame Tussauds, 145 Jefferson Street*
Oscar-winner Alex Gibney explores the life of Steve Jobs and the machines he created, their impact, and how the world he created changed the rest of the world and inspired millions before and after his untimely death in 2011.
Centerpiece Film & Party — Info and Tickets
Film: The End of the Tour
*Centerpiece Party -9:00 pm, Monarch, 101 6th Street*
This year’s centerpiece film is an adaptation of Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky’s published account of his time spent with author David Foster Wallace, who wrote Infinite Jest, on the last leg of Wallace’s book tour.
Closing Night Film & Party — Info and Tickets
*Closing Night Party – 9:00 pm, Mezzanine, 444 Jessie Street*
The festival closes with a screening of a quirky biopic about social psychologist Stanley Morgan (played by Peter Sarsgaard), who’s famous 1960’s experiments on obedience behavior revealed a lot about the power of authority.
(France, 2014, 76 min, GGA: New Directors)
The new French modern fairy tale, Vincent, is a whimsical story of a wandering contract construction worker who settles into a small town when he meets a free-spirited young woman to whom he feels comfortable enough revealing his super hero ability. The film is told with charming patience (and silence, since there’s barely any dialogue or music) by writer/director/star Thomas Salvador, and employs a few minimalist practical effects to capture Vincent’s special talents. Vincent is a wonderfully romantic tale and a simple joy to watch.
- May 1 – 8:30pm at Pacific Film Archive Theater
- May 4 – 6:45pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
- May 7 – 6:15pm at Landmark’s Clay Theatre
Tickets for Vincent available here.
7 Chinese Brothers
(USA, 2015, 75 min, Marquee Presentations)
A lovable loser and his lovable dog are the central subjects of 7 Chinese Brothers, starring a magnificent Jason Schwartzman and his real life dog, Arrow. With only a few people he socializes with, including his grandmother, his pretty (second) boss, and best friend at his grandmother’s assisted living facility, Larry (Schwartzman) maintains an aimless lifestyle with an obnoxious attitude, most of the time while drinking. Despite its arguably despicable protagonist, 7 Chinese Brothers is a heartwarming quirky comedy thanks to amiable performances from the entire cast.
- April 30 – 6:30pm at Landmark’s Clay Theatre
- May 1 – 3:30pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
- May 2 – 9:30pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Tickets for 7 Chinese Brothers available here.
(USA/Argentina, 2015, 97 min, Vanguard)
H. is a haunting vision of remotely intersecting narratives as a mysterious astrological event occurs over Troy, NY. Despite a slow pace that can add or detract from the film’s impact, depending on the viewer, the rate of strange occurrences gradually increases toward a bizarre and challenging climax. It’s no doubt that co-directors Rania Attieh and Daniel Garciathere have infused substantial thematic depth within H.’s characters, including ones of motherhood and rebirth, as well as specific allusions to Helen of Troy. The result is abstract and chilling.
- April 24 – 9:15pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
- April 26 – 1:15pm at Pacific Film Archive Theater
- April 28 – 6:45pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Tickets for H. available here.
Sunday Ball (Campo De Jogo)
(Brazil, 2014, 70 min, GGA: Documentaries)
From Brazil comes this beautifully shot documentary about the intense soccer culture in the impoverished town of Sampaio, outside of Rio de Janeiro’s Maracaña Stadium. The footage takes the viewer right into the midst of the spirited games as the favelas engage in a hard fought soccer tournament. The intensity is most felt during the uncut sequences that capture the interactions between players and referees. There’s no direct narrative in Sunday Ball. Instead, the documentary carries an unflinching and intimate focus on the flavela football scene and its passion for the game.
- May 3 – 6:30pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
- May 5 – 6:30pm at Pacific Film Archive Theater
- May 7 – 8:30pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Tickets for Sunday Ball available here.
A Few Cubic Meters of Love (Chand metre moka’ab eshgh)
(Iran/Afghanistan, 2014, 90 min, GGA: New Directors)
A Few Cubic Meters of Love is about a forbidden romance between a young Iranian factory worker and an Afghan émigré in a crowded industrial suburb of Tehran. We’re treated to a beautiful but troublesome juxtaposition of two young lovers amidst an economy and social atmosphere powered by divisions and barriers (physical walls, employment, nationality, family, etc.). The closer Marona and Saber become, the closer comes the harsh reality of their situation. Mostly comprised of newcomers and real-life factory workers, this 2014 Oscar entry is a moving story of the struggle to keep what little one has.
- April 24 – 9:15pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
- May 3 – 1:00pm at Landmark’s Clay Theatre
- May 5 – 1:00pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Tickets for A Few Cubic Meters of Love available here.