Ma ma

In Ma Ma, the lead character, Magda, finds out she has advanced stage breast cancer. Magda, played by Penélope Cruz, is surrounded by males as she goes through chemotherapy, recovery, and illness again, and we see how her ordeal affects them: her philandering ex-husband, Raúl, her new husband, Arturo, her son, Dani, and her doctor…

Weiner and the Politics of Politics

In the new documentary Weiner, former congressman Anthony Weiner is filmed making various campaign stops during his 2013 bid for mayor of New York City. At one of the stops, he tries to talk about affordable public housing in the Bronx, but none of the reporters wants to talk about this. Instead, they harangue him with…

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…

10 May 2016 Film Round-up

San Francisco’s Roxie Theater celebrates the films of Pedro Almodovar starting May 20…Festival de Cannes opens on May 11, with films by Almodóvar, the Dardennes Brothers, Asgar Farhadi, and Brillante Mendoza…the Museum of Modern Art presents Preminger through June 30…The Shanghai International Film Festival will screen new works of Japanese directors in its June season…the…

Moments: Film Talks at SFIFF 59

Critical film moments and moments in film history were the subjects du jour in this year’s cinema talks at the San Francisco International Film Festival. In his State of the Cinema address, New York Times’ Wesley Morris cites the precise moment which radicalized the actor Sidney Poitier: the “slap back” moment in 1967’s In the…

SFIFF 59: Hong Kong Trilogy

The renowned cinematographer Christopher Doyle is originally from Sydney, but clearly loves his adopted hometown of Hong Kong, as beautifully shown by his latest directorial effort, Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled Preoccupied Preposterous. The film opens with steady, brave shots of the spaces between Hong Kong’s towering apartment buildings; his love for the city and his sensitive…

SFIFF 59: Home Care and Five Nights in Maine

The care of the self and the care of others are frequently at odds. Where does the care of the self end and the care for others begin? Are they inextricable from each other? Are they one and the same? What is selfish and what is selfless? Home Care and Five Nights in Maine (currently playing…