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Cannes 2015: remarkable ‘Lamb’ marks Ethiopia’s festival debut in Un Certain Regard
Film Festivals / Film Reviews / Highly Recommended

Cannes 2015: remarkable ‘Lamb’ marks Ethiopia’s festival debut in Un Certain Regard

Wednesday’s Un Certain Regard premiere of Yared Zeleke’s first film, “‘Lamb,” was an historic event: the first Ethiopian film to ever screen at the Cannes Film Festival in the Official Selection. “Lamb” is also the only African film in the Un Certain Regard sidebar this year. The film is a touching, if simple, story of … Continue reading

Film Reviews

My (tentative) Cannes 2015 schedule

Thursday, May 14 9 a.m. – L’ombre des femmes (Philippe Garrel, France, Quinzaine de Réalisateurs) 11:30 a.m. – Sleeping Giant (Andrew Cividino, Canada, Semaine de la Critique) 2:30 p.m. – One Floor Below (Radu Muntean, Romania, Un Certain Regard) 7:15 p.m. – An (Naomi Kawase, Japan, Un Certain Regard)* Friday May 15 11 a.m. – … Continue reading

Director Shira Piven talks ‘Welcome to Me,’ Chauncey Gardner, and finding comedic rhythms
Bay Area / Film Festivals / Film Interviews / Now playing

Director Shira Piven talks ‘Welcome to Me,’ Chauncey Gardner, and finding comedic rhythms

In Shira Piven’s offbeat comedy, “Welcome to Me,” Kristen Wiig plays Alice Klieg, a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins an 86 million dollar lottery and decides to use her winnings to create her own Oprah-like talk show all about her. Convinced that her newfound wealth will give her a fresh start and a … Continue reading

Female directors tackle motherhood, sexism, and cartoons at SFIFF
Bay Area / Film Festivals / Film Interviews / Recommended

Female directors tackle motherhood, sexism, and cartoons at SFIFF

This weekend, SFIFF showcased a variety of good films by female directors from around the world, tackling stories as diverse as the inner-workings of The New Yorker cartoon department (“Very Semi-Serious”), fidelity in romantic relationships (“Fidelio: Alice’s Odyssey), and the sometimes fraught relationship between mothers and their children (“Goodnight Mommy” and “The Second Mother”). “Fidelio: … Continue reading

Writer-director Rick Alverson talks ‘Entertainment’ and upending audience expectations
Film Festivals / Film Interviews / Interviews

Writer-director Rick Alverson talks ‘Entertainment’ and upending audience expectations

Rick Alverson describes his most recent film, “Entertainment,” and his previous film, “The Comedy” as horror films: “They’re sort of descents into a kind of hell of our own making.” But they’re also black comedies. Shot with a formal discipline reminiscent of Roy Andersson (with whom he isn’t actually familiar in muted colours, — Alverson … Continue reading

Docs delight and educate at SFIFF58: ‘Iris’ and ‘Best of Enemies’
Documentary / Film Festivals / Film Reviews / Recommended

Docs delight and educate at SFIFF58: ‘Iris’ and ‘Best of Enemies’

Opening weekend of the San Francisco International Film Festival featured a wide range of documentaries, from the delightful and impressive “Iris” to the educational if somewhat disappointing “Best of Enemies.” Here’s a look at these two films. “Iris” **** Master documentarian Albert Maysle’s final film is an introduction to the lively, fashionable, and fabulous 93-year-old … Continue reading

Weekend 1 at SFIFF: ‘Mr. Holmes,’ ‘Entertainment,’ ‘Time Out of Mind,’ and ‘Sand Dollars’
Film Festivals / Film Reviews

Weekend 1 at SFIFF: ‘Mr. Holmes,’ ‘Entertainment,’ ‘Time Out of Mind,’ and ‘Sand Dollars’

The San Francisco International Film Festival kicked off last Friday, and it was a busy weekend full of premieres, restorations of classics, as well as flicks from Sundance and last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Here’s a look at some of the films I caught on Saturday and Sunday. “Mr. Holmes” Senility’s a bitch when … Continue reading

Maxime Giroux on his wonderful Hasidic Jew romance ‘Felix and Meira’
Film Interviews / Interviews

Maxime Giroux on his wonderful Hasidic Jew romance ‘Felix and Meira’

When I heard there was a new romance about Hasidic Jews in Montreal premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, I was instantly intrigued. What I hadn’t expected was that it would be such a touching, sweet, and thoughtful story of the heroine’s journey to emancipation. The film follows Meira (Hadas Yaron), a … Continue reading

Women shine behind the camera at SFIFF58
Documentary / Film Festivals / Film Reviews / Independent film / Recommended

Women shine behind the camera at SFIFF58

One of the great pleasures of attending the San Francisco International Film Festival is the ability to binge on films by female auteurs, which are much harder to come by throughout the year. This year, you can catch Helen Hunt’s sophomore feature, “Ride,” a follow-up to her wonderful debut “Then She Found Me.” It’s also … Continue reading