C-Booth at LA County Hospital, from CODE BLACK a Long Shot Factory release, 2014

Now Playing: Code Black

The documentary Code Black is set in Los Angeles County Hospital’s emergency room and chronicles the education of four residents at the famous county hospital. The début filmmaking project of LA County physician Ryan McGarry, who films himself, his classmates, patients, and colleagues, it is clearly a labor of love, made with passion for storytelling,…

Debosyon, dir.  Alvin Yapan. Image courtesy VYAC Productions

Coming Soon: New Filipino Cinema 2014 at YBCA San Francisco

Co-curators Philbert Ortiz Dy and Joel Shepard have lined up an impressive and diverse selection of films for this festival, including emerging and established filmmakers working within the country and in the diaspora. Notable in the line-up are a pair of epic films: Lav Diaz’ Norte, The End of History (which recently screened at the…

Ida/Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) and Wanda (Agata Kulesza) in IDA.  Courtesy of Music Box Films.

Ida by Pawel Pawlikowski

In Pawel Pawlikowski’s stunningly austere latest, Anna, a novitiate nun, finds out that she is actually Ida, a Jewish girl whose family were executed during World War II. The gruesome and tragic details unfold as her aunt Wanda, her only remaining relative, takes her on a road trip to visit the house where she was…

SFIFF57: Soul Food Stories by Tonislav Hristov

In the Hungarian town of Satovcha in Soul Food Stories, Muslim, Christian, Roma and atheist Communists live together peacefully, united by their love of their families and community, rituals of food, prayer, conversation, fasting, and seasonal festivals, and divided, only superficially, by their religious or political identities. The members of this multi-generational community share a…

SFIFF57: South is Nothing by Fabio Mollo

An engaging but uneven first full-length feature by Fabio Mollo, South is Nothing tackles a coming-of-age story of a young woman, Grazia, through the context of a Mafia-controlled city in Reggio Calabria. Mr. Mollo and his collaborators capture the region’s sharp beauty, daily and seasonal rituals and rhythms, the endemic corruption, the firmly entrenched gender mores…

Courtesy of the San Francisco Film Society.

SFIFF 57: The Seventh Walk by Amit Dutta

I dislike using the much-used “innovative” and “avant-garde” to describe the latest by Amit Dutta, but in this case, it is appropriate, particularly the latter. An oblique meditation (also overused, but in this instance absolutely true) on the painter Paramjit Singh and the bucolic Kangra Valley, this film takes us into the heart of the…

Isaac Julien, image courtesy of Graeme Robertson and the San Francisco Film Society

SFIFF 57: Persistence of Vision Award/Isaac Julien

The last time I attended the POV award ceremony at the San Francisco International Film Festival was for Matthew Barney, whose work continues to infuriate and fascinate me in equal measure. However, I appreciate his use of movement and choreography in his time-based work: as a former athlete and dancer, he knows how to use…