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San Francisco Film Society







The next International takes place April 25–May 9, 2013.


Soup Du Jour SFIFF

 Here is what's going on today at the festival in San Francisco, courtesy of         

Who’s In Town?
Arriving today are directors Dorota Kedzierzawska (Time to Die) and Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg); actor Danuta Szaflarska (Time to Die); cinematographer Arthur Reinhart (Time to Die); and Founder’s Directing Award recipient Mike Leigh (Topsy-Turvy).

What to Do?
By chance, Newton I. Aduaka’s harrowing Ezra, about child soldiers in Sierra Leone, debuted at SFIFF Sunday, on Sierra Leone’s independence day. While the dramatic tale of one boy’s kidnapping by a guerilla group and his violent attack on his own family’s home is clearly set in Sierra Leone, this is never explicitly stated. Aduaka said leaving the location unspecified was a conscious choice. “I had researched other conflicts, beyond Sierra Leone—in Liberia, Uganda, the Congo. I saw certain patterns: child soldiers, wars over natural resources. I wanted to tell a story that would resonate beyond Sierra Leone, and also speak about conflicts outside of the African continent.” The Fespaco (Pan-African Film Festival) grand prize­–winning film documents the reconciliation hearings the boy soldier Ezra endures. When asked about American reaction to the film, Aduaka recalled the North American premiere at Sundance. “People there were deeply moved, but they also felt an element of guilt,” he said. “I don’t care about that. I can’t tell you what to do about this situation. I want you to think about it, what interests you or touches you about the situation. That’s what you can do.” Ezra screens today at the Kabuki at 3:30. –JP

A Second Rescue
Stranded: I’ve come from a plane that crashed on the mountains is Gonzalo Arijon’s poignant retelling of a group of men from Uruguay who survived for over two months in the Andean cordillera after their plane crashes on the way to Chile. The shocking tale is familiar to many, having been the basis for a bestselling book and then screen adaptation, but Arijon felt compelled to tell the story from a fresh point of view. “The story is in each memory of the 16 guys,” he told Sunday’s capacity audience. “When the book appeared, even for the 16 survivors the story became the story of the book; the book was the official story.” Arijon’s longtime friendship with several of the survivors allowed a sense of intimacy in the recounting of what lengths they had to go to in order to survive, and of what Arijon calls, “another dimension or emotional proposition for the viewers.” His film is a combination of deeply personal interviews and affecting reenactments, but Arijon sees the latter as something else entirely. “I don’t know what to call these kinds of images, it’s not reenactments at all; it’s more like images from the memory, like souvenirs.” Stranded screens today at the Kabuki at 3:15. –RNA

Beauty and Brains
It was not easy to get permission to film La Corona, according to codirector Amanda Micheli. Press crews typically film the beauty pageant itself, held in a Bogatá women’s prison, but the filmmakers’ idea was to follow the daily preparations for the pageant. Their persistence paid off with the authorities, and they ended up filming inside the prison for two months. Allowed two hours twice a day, they were always accompanied by a guard, who would escort them out at the first sign of conflict or impropriety. “But really, it depended on which guard it was,” Micheli tells Scoop. Some were lenient enough to let the camera capture two girls smoking pot, for example. The Academy Award–nominated La Corona, by Micheli and Isabel Vega, screens this evening as part of the documentary shorts program, The Feminine Mystique. –MB

The Bewitching Hour
The food and drink were flowing at the plush W Hotel Saturday night as a festive crowd anxiously waited for the clock to strike the hour for the second Midnight Awards, this year honoring Rose McGowan and Jason Lee. At the stroke of 12, Executive Director Graham Leggat took the stage and declared, “All your cars are now pumpkins once more”—no, wait, wrong event. Here’s what he actually said: “These are two of the finest young actors working in cinema today.” Cue for the sultry McGowan to beam at her fellow honoree and coo, “Clearly you’ve picked two awesome winners.” Then she added, “Being around people who truly love film means a great deal to me.” Lee, sporting his My Name Is Earl moustache and shaggy hair, watched a clip reel of his work with a smile and recalled, “I used to be a skateboarder and didn’t know anything about acting, but I was really interested in films.” The crowd hooted and hollered as the two accepted their awards, in the form of engraved silver Tiffany’s martini shakers, and then went on to dance the night away. –RNA

Today’s Best Bets
At the Kabuki today, Tuesday April 29, you can still buy tickets for Stranded: I’ve come from a plane that crashed on the mountains, screening at 3:15. Tickets are also available for Lady Jane, Robert Guédiguian’s noirish drama of love and loss at 4:30; the gentle comedy Just Like Home at 9:15; and Roy Andersson’s deadpan comedy of alienation, You, the Living at 7:30. In the East Bay, you can catch Eric Rohmer’s The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, at the Pacific Film Archive at 6:30 with charming star Andy Gillet in attendance; and the experimental shorts program In a Lonely Place: New Experimental Cinema, screening at 8:45.

Special Note to SFFS Members: A handful of Closing Night film-only tickets for Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson have just been made available to Film Society members! You must be a valid member to buy and call the box office directly at 925-866-9559 to secure these tickets. Proceeds from the film will benefit the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Contributors to today’s Scoop include Rachel Aloy, Maria Belilovskaya and Jennifer Preissel.

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About San Francisco Film Society

Legatt Graham







The longest-running film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival has built an international reputation for bringing the world’s finest films and filmmakers together with passionate and enthusiastic Bay Area audiences.

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