SFIFF 2016


Throughout San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), I’ll be linking more festival coverage to this page, including both features and movie recommendations. Follow me on Twitter for the very latest coverage.


San Francisco International Film Festival: fest preview

SFIFF: previewing the documentaries 

Women directors at SFIFF

SFIFF: under the radar this weekend (April 22)

SFIFF: under the radar this weekend (April 29)



Chevalier: a sly and pointed exploration of male competitiveness, with the moments of drollness and absurdity that we expect in the best of contemporary Greek cinema. Director Athina Rachel Tsangari is obviously a keen observer of male behavior.  (In 2011, Tsangari brought her hilariously offbeat Attenberg to SFIFF.)

Dead Slow Ahead – a visually stunning and an often hypnotic film, shot on a massive freighter on its voyage across vast ocean expanses with its all-Filipino crew.

Five Nights in Maine – An emotionally affecting exploration of grief (though dotted with humor), this indie drama showcases superb performances by David Oyewolo, Dianne Wiest and Rosie Perez.

Frank & Lola – This absorbing neo-noir is, at its heart, a romance.  Is Lola a Bad Girl or a Troubled Girl? If she’s bad, then love ain’t gonna prevail. But if she’s damaged, can love survive THAT either?  We’re lucky enough to go along for the ride.

Leaf Blower  an amiable Mexican slice-of-life comedy, with three young guys drifting though rudderless adolescence,  doing what teenage males do – busting each others balls, wasting time, and achieving new heights of social awkwardness and sexual frustration.

Love & Friendship – Based on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, the sharply witty Love & Friendship centers on the unabashedly amoral efforts by Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) to get exactly what she wants despite lack of resources and position, and it’s filled with the 19th century version of “snappy dialogue” – old-fashioned wit.

NUTS! – a persistently hilarious (and finally poignant) documentary about the rise and fall of a medical and radio empire – all built on goat testicle “implantation” surgery in gullible humans.

Under the Sun – a searing and subversive insight into totalitarian North Korean society, all from government-approved footage that tells a different story than the wackadoodle dictatorship intended.

Weiner – The media feasted as Anthony Weiner’s campaign for New York City mayor self-immolated in scandal, but this VERY inside view of his campaign shows that there was much more nuance behind the punchlines. Certainly one of the best documentaries of the year.


These reviews were held until the films opened in the Bay Area.


Frank & Lola

Love & Friendship

Under the Sun