Women on Wall Street Take Charge

Money Monster (directed by Jodie Foster), is set in one of those shiny financial market TV shows full of exaggerated numbers and practically devoid of facts or pragmatic advice. Its king and money monster is Lee Gates, who faithfully (if cynically) reports on the latest and greatest financial instruments that the common people should invest in. His salesmanship,…

SFIFF59: A Case for Female Documentarians

SFIFF59 made a strong case for supporting the work of female documentarians. I have been thinking a lot recently about how female documentarians are good at effacing themselves for the service of the story, and several of the festival’s films proved my point. Though women are telling, framing, and editing, the film is not about…

The Wonders by Alice Rohrwacher (2014)

Alice Rohrwacher, as shown by her lovely first feature film, Corpo Celeste, and her latest, The Wonders, is a first-rate filmmaker and thoroughly original storyteller. Her films convey confidence in her work, ability and subject matter, a sense of real wonder for the world, and a compassion for people, especially young women. The Wonders, while…

Magic in the Moonlight by Woody Allen

Mr. Allen continues his romantic European streak with Magic in the Moonlight, a funny, beautiful and thoughtful comedy about the nature of reality and the dueling principles of reason/fatih, loyalty/betrayal and magic/logic. Happily there is no one answer as many of the characters move (stylishly) through that spectrum, from belief to disbelief, and back again.…

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…

The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson

At the heart of Wes Anderson’s effortlessly stylish, luxe and purple-clad film is a touching story about family. The film is full of charm, effervescence, and visual panache, but it is anchored by a sustained (and occasionally sentimental) melancholy that provides substance and reminds us of his other films. Like the children and their friends…