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10 Picks for the San Francisco International Film Festival, Week Two (April 28 - May 5) 

Wednesday, Apr 27 2016

The BanditScorsese and De Niro. Lynch and MacLachlan. Carpenter and Russell. Certain directors and actors bring out the best in each other and finally getting their due are (Hal) Needham and (Burt) Reynolds in Jesse Moss' documentary, which celebrates the brief but fruitful collaboration between the director and star of Smokey and the Bandit. (5/5, Castro)


Speaking of directors, they're the ones who usually get all the glory regarding documentaries, but as with most films, they aren't the ones behind the camera. Kirsten Johnson, cinematographer for documents including but not limited Citizenfour and Fahrenheit 9/11, rights this wrong in this autobiographical collage made from 25 years of location shoots. (5/1, Victoria & 5/3, Alamo)

The Family Fang

Jason Bateman's somewhat unexpected directorial career continues with this adaption of the Kevin Wilson novel about the damaged adult children (Bateman and Nicole Kidman) of a pair of performance artists (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett). Also, Bateman's character's name is Buster — wrap your heads around that one, Arrested Development fans. (4/30, Castro)

The Fits

A hit at Sundance and the Venice Film Festival, Anna Rose Holmer's debut feature stars the 10-year-old Royalty Hightower as a Cincinnati tomboy torn between training to be a boxer and joining a dance troupe, a turmoil that may be expressing itself as an illness among the dancers. (4/29 & 5/2, Alamo)


True story: When we were teenagers, my brother gave me a copy of this J.G. Ballard novel about an apartment tower's society descending into chaos, saying he thought it would be perfect for me to direct.I'm still not sure why, but Ben Wheatley's adaptation starring Tom Hiddleston is proof that history played out the way it should. (4/30, Castro)

Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled Preoccupied Preposterous

Speaking again of camerapeople, acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express) shot and directed this triptych about his adopted hometown, for which he interviewed local residents and wove their stories into three beautiful and thoughtful vignettes. (4/22 & 4/25, Alamo)

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Yo-Yo Ma doesn't have much competition to be the world's most famous cellist — no offense, Truls Mørk fans — but this new documentary by Twenty Feet from Stardom director Morgan Neville will likely bolster the reputation of yje world's most talented cellist. (No offense, František Brikcius fans.) (5/3, Alamo)

Our Kind of Traitor

Along with Miles Ahead and Last Days in the Desert, 2016 continues to be a good year for those who appreciate Ewan McGregor at his shaggiest, as he now plays the scruffy lead in Susanna White's adaption of the 2013 John le Carré novel. (5/1, Victoria & 5/3, Alamo)

Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Music

This new PBS series that gets into the nitty-gritty of recording technology over the years doesn't debut until the fall, but these two episodes — about the role of the producers like George Martin and Quincy Jones, and the impact of multitracking and magnetic tape — are another reason to want November to hurry up and get here. (4/29, Roxie & 4/20, Alamo)


Movies can be good escapism, but just try not to think about Hetch Hetchy's water levels as you watch Svetla Tsotsorkova's harrowing drama about the tension between two families as they deal with a drought in the hills of Bulgaria. (5/1 & 5/5, Roxie).


About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


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