SFIFF59 Spotlights #1: Microbe & Gasoline / Dead Slow Ahead / Very Big Shot / Granny’s Dancing on the Table

by Chad Liffmann on April 10, 2016

SFIFF59

It’s that wonderful time of the year, again! Yes, time for the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). The 59th edition of SFIFF will be hosting its two week celebration and screenings of incredible cinema from around the globe — April 21 through May 5. Year after year, Spinning Platters is here to provide you with tons of SFIFF coverage before, during, and after the event. Let’s start you off with four spotlights you should check out when SFIFF59 rolls around…

Microbe & Gasoline
(France, 2015, 105 min, Global Visions)

A scene from Michel Gondry's MICROBE AND GASOLINE will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 - May 5,2016.

A scene from Michel Gondry’s MICROBE AND GASOLINE will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 – May 5,2016.

Writer/director Michel Gondry’s newest cinematic entry may be his most charming to date. The whimsical tale of two adolescent friends (nicknamed Microbe and Gasoline) building a mobile tiny house for a chance to roadtrip across France to meet girls and explore the world is everything you’d want it to be — funny, inventive, and entertaining. Gondry’s usual DIY visual panache is less on display — maintaining focus instead on the two young lead characters whose conversations and musings on life transcend audience age groups. You’ll love Microbe & Gasoline!

Screenings:

  • Sunday, April 24rd, 6:00pm, Victoria Theatre
  • Tuesday, April 26th, 5:30pm, Alamo Drafthouse

Tickets available here.

Dead Slow Ahead
(Spain/France, 2015, 74 min, GGA: Documentaries)

A scene from Mauro Herce's DEAD SLOW AHEAD, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21 – May 5 2016.

A scene from Mauro Herce’s DEAD SLOW AHEAD, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21 – May 5 2016.

As the title suggests, Dead Slow Ahead engrosses viewers at a slow and steady pace. This atmospheric documentary is beautifully composed by filmmaker Mauro Herce as a fly-on-the-wall perspective aboard a cargo ship crossing the Atlantic ocean. Not for the anxious or impatient viewer, Dead Slow Ahead poetically juxtaposes the vast expanses of the ocean against the tight quarters of the ship. I fell under the spell of the ships murmurs and hypnotic lights, and felt the pangs of solitude as we hear disjointed calls from crew members to their loved ones back home.

Screenings:

  • Saturday, April 23rd, 9:00pm, Alamo Drafthouse
  • Friday, April 29th, 7:00pm, Alamo Drafthouse
  • Monday, May 2nd, 1:00pm, Alamo Drafthouse

Tickets available here.

Very Big Shot
(Lebanon/Qatar, 2015, 107 min, GGA: New Directors)

A scene from Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya's VERY BIG SHOT, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 - May 5, 2016.

A scene from Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya’s VERY BIG SHOT, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 – May 5, 2016.

Very Big Shot balances a tight drug trafficking thriller with a black heist comedy. From first time Lebanese director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, this engaging film features phenomenal performances and a very witty script which borrows from political satires like Wag the Dog. The cast of characters is truly unique and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I welcomed the fact that I had no clue where the provokingly outrageous storyline was headed.

Screenings:

  • Sunday, April 24rd, 1:00pm, Roxie Theatre
  • Friday, April 29th, 9:30pm, Alamo Drafthouse
  • Sunday, May 1st, 9:00pm, Roxie Theatre

Tickets available here.

Granny’s Dancing on the Table
(Sweden/Denmark, 2015, 89 min, Global Visions)

Blanca Engström in GRANNY'S DANCING ON THE TABLE, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21st - May 5th, 2016.

Blanca Engström in GRANNY’S DANCING ON THE TABLE, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21st – May 5th, 2016.

Swedish filmmaker Hanna Sköld’s harrowing drama blends storytelling techniques to create an observational and minimalist tale of multigenerational abuse towards women. The film is beautifully shot and scored, with strong performances to boot. Stop motion animation provides an added dreamlike layer, with the serene Swedish woods providing a haunting backdrop. Granny’s Dancing on the Table may be hard to watch for those sensitive to domestic violence, yet there’s no denying Sköld’s bold, effective direction.

Screenings:

  • Wednesday, April 27rd, 9:00pm, Roxie Theatre
  • Saturday, April 30th, 4:15pm, Alamo Drafthouse

Tickets available here.

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