The number of foreign films on offer in U.S. theaters declines every year, even in the hotspots of Manhattan and San Francisco. Thank Jah for the long-armed reach of the various local festivals and "For Your Consideration,"
a sizzling sampler culled from the 63 titles in the running for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. A now-annual tradition at everyone's favorite Marin movie outpost, the series includes 17 stunners by world-renowned directors such as Manoel de Oliveira of Portugal (Belles Toujours
, a sequel to Bunuel's Belle de Jour
) and Giuseppe Tornatore of Italy (The Unknown Woman
, a taut tale of a Ukrainian immigrant shedding her sordid past) and rising stars Baltasar Kormakur of Iceland (the hypnotic murder mystery Jar City
) and Roy Andersson of Sweden (the deadpan comedy You, the Living
). The finest filmmakers of Peru, Egypt, Bangladesh, Colombia, and Georgia are also represented, but only a handful of the Sweet Seventeen will ever grace a San Francisco screen. If you couldn't get to Cannes (or Berlin or Dubai or Venice or Toronto) last year, a trip or two across the Golden Gate Bridge will ease your world cinema jones.
"For Your Consideration" screenings start this evening at 6:30 with Ben X and 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days.
Jan. 11-24, 2008