Each year, the Film Society invites an industry leader to ruminate on the intersecting worlds of contemporary cinema, culture and society. This year, indie film maverick Christine Vachon discusses her remarkable career.
The latest from a filmmaker at the forefront of the new wave in Hong Kong crime thrillers expands the genre with emotional complexity and existential angst, yet still provides the fierce, realistic and breathtaking action sequences for which the director is deservedly known.
Oliver, an incredibly astute 15-year old, is keenly observational and wildly imaginative. He thinks he has it all figured out, but his inklings lead him down paths strange, charmed and heartbreaking in this offbeat comedy that shrewdly adapts Joe Dunthorne’s dryly humorous novel about adolescent growing pains.
Kinky sex, a buxom all-American girl gone wild, pet cloning—Errol Morris (SFIFF 2008 POV Award recipient) returns to the eccentric Americana of his early films with the bizarre tale of Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming with an IQ of 168 who became a ’70s English tabloid sensation as mastermind of the “Manacled Mormon Kidnapping.”
CENTERPIECE Terri is a heavy, shambling, pajama-wearing junior high student, the physical incarnation of all the insecurity and awkwardness that accompanies emerging adolescence. When vice principal Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly) tags Terri as an at-risk student, an unexpected friendship blooms between two misfits in this hilariously touching tale of youth in transition.
The director of such cult hits as Ichi the Killer (SFIFF 2002) changes pace with this well-crafted homage to the glory years of ’60s Japanese samurai films. A noble warrior played by Koji Yakusho (Babel) is charged with organizing a dirty dozen’s worth of men to assassinate a psychotic lord. The only thing between them and the job? Hundreds of killers.
Bor, in eastern Serbia, was once home to the largest copper mine in Europe. Now it’s just the biggest hole. This astutely observed coming-of-age film captures the pitfalls of the adult world, where idealism no longer seems to have a place, as two teens come to realize they have no choice but to grow up.
Tindersticks, the groundbreaking British chamber rock band known for its distinctive orchestral sound and the baritone of lead vocalist Stuart Staples, will perform the scores that they have created for six films of French director Claire Denis. Viewed—and heard—anew, Denis’s singular images will soar as the band’s live music envelopes the majestic Castro Theatre.
Years after the Salvadoran military destroyed the village of Cinquera in that country’s civil war, survivors have returned to rebuild their community. Soulful, beautifully rendered, this amazing debut is an evocative testament to place, memory and the power of life to rebound from tragedy.
Toby Dammit is a phantasmagoric masterpiece with a bewitching central performance by Terence Stamp. Darkly recapping many of the themes of La Dolce Vita (also showing at this year’s Festival), the film explores the absurdities of celebrity, with Fellini’s outlandish visual style perfectly complementing the overheated story and the incipient madness of the title character.