Film Feature: SFFILM 2018 Festival Spotlights #2

by Chris Piper on April 9, 2018

Make time for these three great documentaries at the 61st San Francisco International Film Festival

1.) Carcasse
(Iceland/France 2016, 61 min. Vanguard)

Faraway lands and anthropologic impulses lured filmmaker Gústav Geir Bollason to the subject of how we adapt the 21st century’s material bounty to the timeless problems of survival. Drawing heavily from Robert Flaherty and Basil Wright, Bollason is fascinated with the ways in which we repurpose the consumerist world to adapt quite nicely in the survivalist one. Aircraft fuselages become shelters for lamb flocks. Volkswagen bodies become boat bridges. Compact car bodies become horse drawn buggies. Flaherty showed how the Inuk bent nature to tame nature. Bollason shows both the pervasive nature of modern material culture, and our ingenuity at bending it our needs. Plays with the short The Art of Flying (Jan van Ijken, Netherlands 2015, 7 min).

Screenings (tickets available here):
— Saturday, April 14th, 3:15pm, YBCA Screening Room
— Sunday, April 15, 2018, 8:00pm, YBCA Screening Room 

2.) The Cleaners
(Brazil/Germany 2018, 88 min. Global Visions)

A brave and necessary film about the world of content moderators (known as “cleaners”) who must review twenty-five thousand images and videos daily for what tech companies blandly call “community standards” violations, but, in reality, are not just simply horrific, but dramatically illustrate the corrosive effects of hate speech masquerading as political opinion. We meet a number of moderators who work in Manila, and who, in some cases, have to be trained in what is acceptable and what should be “deleted.” They are cast as just struggling to feed their families, but also are at the center of tech companies that just want to build product, governments trying to discern between commerce and corruption, and the actors who today have instant access, and instant scalability. Directors Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck enter into this new-world fray from a number of angles, and mostly keep away from easy solutions or cartoonish bogeymen. Required viewing for anyone who has ever complained about Facebook.

Screenings (tickets available here):
— Wednesday, April 11th, 6:00pm, Victoria Theater
— Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8:00pm, BAMPFA, Berkeley

3.) Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable
(USA 2018, 90 min. Global Visions)

“What does a camera do better than anything else? Describe.” So proclaims Garry Winogrand, the towering post-war chronicler of American urban uneasiness. In hundreds of prints, and thousands of rolls of film, Winogrand spent his life seeking truth and honesty in the streets and backyards and parties of eastern, southern, and western America. Along with Lee Friedlander and Diane Arbus, Winogrand helped break photography free of its journalistic past, and pushed toward a future where it could be considered high art. Follow Winogrand from his humble roots in the Bronx, through his discovery of the power of the SLR, through his three marriages and ultimately to a secure, if still somewhat uneasy, place as one of the most influential American artists of our time.

Screenings (tickets available here):
— Saturday, April 14th, 8:00pm, SFMOMA (at RUSH)
— Sunday, April 15, 2018, 1:00pm, BAMPFA, Berkeley

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The 61st San Francisco International Film Festival runs from April 4th through April 17th.

You can watch the Festival trailer on the Festival’s website, here.

Chris Piper

Regardless of the age, Chris Piper thinks that a finely-crafted script, brought to life by willing actors guided by a sure-handed director, supported by a committed production and post-production team, for the benefit of us all, is just about the coolest thing ever.

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