SFFILM festival

2018 San Francisco International Film Festival ends this week

If you haven’t made it out to the SF International Film Festival yet, don’t worry – you still have one more day to catch some great films. The Festival ends tomorrow, Tuesday, April 17th, and tickets to remaining screenings can be found here.

Spinning Platters continues its coverage by taking a look at four films that screened at the Fest that will be opening soon here in the Bay Area (we note each film’s opening date below), so if you had hoped to see some of these at the Fest and missed them, you’ve got a second chance. And even though the Fest ends soon, stay tuned to Spinning Platters; we’ll have some wrap up coverage after the Fest concludes.

1.) Kodachrome
(Canada/USA 2017, 105 min. Marquee Presentations)

Matt (Jason Sudeikis, l.), Zoe, (Elizabeth Olsen), and Ben (Ed Harris) have some fun.

Upon hearing the title of director Mark Raso’s new film, you would be forgiven for thinking it might have something to do with Paul Simon’s 1973 single of the same name. That song is referenced in the film, but never played, which is for the best, since the last film to take its title from a Paul Simon song was a huge flop. Raso fares better here, working from a script by the author and screenwriter Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You). Based loosely on a 2010 article in the New York Times about the closing of the last photo lab in the country to develop Kodak’s famed color film, Kodachrome is a father-son redemption story that calls to mind Sam Shepard, and not just because Shepard stalwart Ed Harris plays Ben, the estranged, terminally ill famous photographer father to Jason Sudeikis’s wounded music producer son Matt. The actors are believable as a father and son with a complicated history, which helps detract from the cliché of their road trip from New York to Kansas to drop off old Kodachrome rolls of Ben’s before the lab closes. Accompanying the duo is Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen), Ben’s nurse and assistant and, of course, love interest for Matt. Olsen’s likable presence and her chemistry with Sudeikis also help keep the story from feeling too obvious, and you find yourself wanting to spend more time with them. The film does occasionally succumb to the hackneyed, though, as when Matt and Zoe finally look at Ben’s developed slides (you’ll have long since guessed what’s on them), in a somewhat cloying scene that may remind some viewers of the famous “The Wheel” episode of Mad Men. But with its nostalgic look at how our analog world has given way to digital, Raso and Tropper manage to pull off a charming narrative that would have felt derivative with a lesser cast at the helm.

Kodachrome will open in the Bay Area this Friday, April 20th.

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(Films #31-#40 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

The 60th SFFILM Festival is HALFWAY through! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

The Paris Opera
(France/Switzerland 2017, 110 min; French/English with English subtitles)

A scene from THE PARIS OPERA, screening at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

This documentary is fascinating! The Paris Opera takes audiences behind the scenes of the legendary Palais Garnier and the newer Opéra Bastille, both in Paris. We meet a few veterans and some new members of the venues’ onstage talent for their show season, as well as some of the organizational heads. Director Jean-Stéphane Bron keeps the film tight and fluid, ensuring the excess fat is cut and leaving only the most interesting aspects of the run-of-show. To be honest, even the presumably mundane operations are more engaging than I’d imagine. From auditions and prop-finding to administrative tasks and marketing, this charming inside look is entertaining for fans of ballet, opera, and fans of interesting subject matters in general! 

No more screenings at SFFILM Festival.

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(Films #21-#30 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

The 60th SFFILM Festival is in full swing! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

Bending the Arc
(USA 2017, 102 min; in English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Kinyarwanda with English subtitles)

A scene from BENDING THE ARC, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

This incredible documentary follows the origination and long-lasting impact of a few medical students (Paul Farmer, Ophelia Dahl, Jim Yong Kim) who cared so deeply for universal health care that they were willing to take the emotional, financial, and life-threatening plunge into war torn and disease stricken countries to defend and advance it. Bending the Arc can be both infuriating and inspiring as it brings to light some of the most wonderful humanitarian efforts that challenge the systemic greed and social inequality that has greatly influenced the health of the world for far too long.

Screenings:
(click here for tickets)

  • Friday, April 14th, 5:00 pm, Castro Theatre

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(Films #11-#20 of Chad’s goal of seeing 60 films to commemorate SF Film Festival’s 60th anniversary! #60for60th)

Our preview coverage of the 60th SFFILM Festival continues! Be sure to get your tickets now — visit http://www.sffilm.org/festival for tickets and info. Also, be sure to check back here frequently, or follow along at our Facebook page and on Twitter (or follow film critics Carrie Kahn- @CKCinephile / Chad Liffmann- @chadcarsten). And now, time for 10 more spotlights:

Heaven Sent
(France/Lebanon 2016, 70 min; in Lebanese with English subtitles)

A scene from HEAVEN SENT, playing at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5-19, 2017.

Uproariously absurd and twistedly entertaining, Heaven Sent is a rewarding dark comedy from the Middle East. It features a tight script and talented actors with superb comedic timing. The story revolves around a celebrity’s bodyguard, Omar, whose life is turned upside down when his presumed dead soldier brother returns out-of-the-blue. Even with some political jabs, director Wissam Charaf still invites the audience to laugh with solid slapstick and visual gags. Much of the film’s biting satire stems from the audience’s pre-existing knowledge of the ongoing war in the Middle East, and thus to contrast that knowledge with the hilariously trivial annoyances of Omar’s life become more and more comedically pronounced as the film unfolds. Definitely see Heaven Sent with a full house, since laughter is infectious!

Screenings:
(click here for tickets)

  • Thursday, April 13th, 9:00 pm, YBCA Screening Room
  • Friday, April 14th, 6:00 pm, Alamo Drafthouse
  • Tuesday, April 18th, 6:30 pm, Alamo Drafthouse

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