SFIFF59 Spotlights #4: Assassination Classroom / Thirst / The Demons

by Chad Liffmann on April 26, 2016

A scene from Eiichirô Hasumi's ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 - May 5,2016.

Spinning Platters continues its coverage of the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, which is happening NOW through May 5th. Information and tickets are available here.

Here’s a look at three more feature titles…

Assassination Classroom
(Japan, 2015, 110 min, Dark Wave)

A scene from Eiichirô Hasumi's ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 - May 5,2016.

A scene from Eiichirô Hasumi’s ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM will play at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, on April 21 – May 5,2016.

This is a bizarre one, ladies and gentlemen! Assassination Classroom is a new Japanese scifi-comedy-drama inspired by a manga series of the same name. The story is as outlandish as it gets, which is a welcome sight when you’re used to the common film festival fare. The plot: A ‘have a nice day’ smiley-faced alien comes to Earth and strikes a deal with the Japanese government that he will teach a middle school class how to assassinate him before graduation, at which point if he’s not assassinated he’ll destroy the planet. Woohoo! The film is filled with interesting socioeconomic commentary, with the alien being a metaphor for… something…I’m just not quite sure and too distracted by the zany, unexpected, unravelling plot to care. And that’s a good thing. Check it out!

Screenings:

  • Wednesday, April 27th – 10:00pm, Alamo Drafthouse

Tickets for Assassination Classroom available here.

Thirst
(Bulgaria, 2015, 90 min, GGA: New Directors)

A scene from Svetla Tsotsorkova's THIRST, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21st - May 5th, 2016.

A scene from Svetla Tsotsorkova’s THIRST, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21st – May 5th, 2016.

The debut from Bulgarian filmmaker Svetla Tsotsorkova is an unnerving drama about a family trying to get by in the middle of a drought, and the effects a hired dowser and his precocious yet insidious daughter have on the family dynamic. Superbly subtle acting, especially from young Monika Naydenova as the daughter, drive the somewhat meditative flow of the film. The sense of impending disaster permeates through the escalating interactions between characters. Although these moments are at times humorous and charming, the deep-seeded foundations of the central family are obviously uprooted and steadily spiraling out of control.

Screenings:

  • Sunday, May 1st – 3:45pm, Roxie Theatre
  • Thursday, May 5th – 3:00pm, Roxie Theatre

Tickets for Thirst available here.

The Demons
(Canada, 2015, 118 min, GGA: New Directors)

A scene from Philippe Lesage's THE DEMONS, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21 - May 5 2016.

A scene from Philippe Lesage’s THE DEMONS, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21 – May 5 2016.

Before cell phones, kids had to seek out fun and distractions, had to learn on their own, and had to navigate the world without the safety net of contacting parents/adults with ease. Such is the time when The Demons takes place (Montreal in the 1980s) and where the expertly crafted dark coming-of-age tale occurs. The story follows 10 year old Félix, a curiosity-driven outcast at school who has a crush on his physical education teacher and a dislike of a younger clingy boy at his school. Through amazing, patient, gliding camerawork and a haunting musical score that jumps in and out with maximum effectiveness, we learn about the world through Félix’s fears and observations, and are removed from his POV only to learn disturbing truths about the people around him. The Demons may not sit well with many viewers, but director Philippe Lesage has indeed crafted a pitch-perfect examination of childhood fears and the disconnect from adults that children face as they battle their own inner and outer demons.

Screenings:

  • Thursday, April 28th – 6:00pm, Alamo Drafthouse
  • Monday, May 2nd – 3:15pm, Alamo Drafthouse
  • Wednesday, May 4th, 3:00pm, Roxie Theatre

Tickets for The Demons available here.

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