Our Little Sister

Sagami Bay, blue hydrangeas, pale-pink cherry blossoms, freshly-picked plums, freshly-caught seafood, torrential rain, and four very elegant and dignified sisters who are as tough as mountains. In Our Little Sister (from the novel Umimachi Diary), Kore-eda conveys an exquisite but very real world where time, nature, memory, and community both serve as foreground and background to…

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…