Sunday, April 30, 2006

san francisco international film festival

The 2006 San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) wraps up its 15 day, 100 presentation program this Thursday May 4. There are still a number of interesting showings in the City and in Palo Alto including the somber documentary The Bridge (USA 2005), the avant-garde Perpetual Motion (China 2005), and the challenging The Sun (Russia, Italy, France 2005). However, screenings of many of the best films have past.

Fortunately, a number of featured selections from the SFIFF are already available on DVD. For those like me that missed much of this year’s festival, here are links to create your own home international film festival via Netflix.

(Norway 2005) (netflix)
Bent Hamer brings his offbeat Scandinavian sensibility to the seedy American underbelly in this droll adaptation of writer/barfly Charles Bukowski’s 1975 novel of the same name, starring Matt Dillon and Lili Taylor.

The Giant Buddhas
(Switzerland 2005) (netflix)
Blasphemous idols? Cultural treasures? For 1,500 years the giant Buddhas of Afghanistans Bamiyan Valley stood as colossal stone monuments—until the Taliban blew them up in 2001. Oscar-nominated documentarian Christian Frei meditates on their fate in this haunting, reflective film.

The Heart of the Game
(USA 2005) (netflix)
The politics of race, class and sex arrive center court in Ward Serrill’s entertaining documentary of a high school girls basketball team in Seattle, and the headstrong star player who represents their greatest challenge—and inspiration.

The House Of Sand
(Brazil 2005) (netflix)
Three generations of women abandoned in the stunningly beautiful deserts of northeast Brazil remind us that human existence is a struggle and that living it to the fullest is something to be celebrated. Starring Fernanda Montenegro and Fernanda Torres.

(Korea 2005) (netflix)
A deeply rewarding, delicately observant portrait of a modern young woman’s search for happiness and love, featuring an intensely physical performance by South Korea’s finest actress, Moon So-Ri.

Three Times
(Taiwan 2005) (netflix)
Three different time periods, two lead roles and one eternal love: Hou Hsiao-hsien’s romantic new film moves across the history of Taiwan—and the arc of the director’s career—to explore the memory of love in 1966, 1911 and today.

Descriptions are from the SFIFF. Click on each title for more details or the Netflix link to add to your queue.


At 9:24 PM, Anonymous rochelle said...

I'd highly recommend the movie that opened up the festival, "Perhaps Love," a Hong Kong Chinese musical love story. I know, sounds scary, but it really is good. The cinematography is amazing and who doesn't love Takeshi Kaneshiro?

"The Bridge" was a disturbing but thought provoking, honest film. "The House of Sand" was visually stunning, but lacked a compelling story. John Turturro's "Romance and Cigarettes", despite an all-star cast was surprisingly bad. Check out "Runner's High", an inspirational, feel-good movie about East Oakland kids who are training for the LA marathon!


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