The skyline of the City By The Bay at night, including the Ferry Building, highlighted by the Port of San Francisco red neon flanking the Ferry Building's Clock Tower.  (Photo: Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com)

San Francisco's 51st International Film Festival Begins Tonight

By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel

April 24, 2008


The sound of the city, the sounds that are heard in San Francisco/Are mixed with daylight's glimmering waves and moonbeam's shimmering glow/When darkness settles on the city/Homeward people on their way/Chimes ringing softly in the stillness/Fog creeping slowly cross the Bay/Hear the sounds of the city, the sounds that are heard in San Francisco on KSFO, KSFO, San Francisco . . .

San Francisco has its sounds sung so clearly by the Johnny Mann Singers as a local radio jingle way back when.  The City, in all of its foggy, romantic glory, continues its proud mantle for being the longest running film festival in the Americas.  Tonight begins the 51st San Francisco International Film Festival and the film "The Last Mistress", directed by France's Catherine Breillat (director of such films as "Romance" and "Sex Is Comedy") and starring Asia Argento, kicks off the two-week film festival (which runs through Thursday, May 8.) 

"The Last Mistress" will be unveiled at The Castro Theater tonight at 7p.m.

The Festival, run by the San Francisco Film Society, once again promises wall-to-wall films and related events.  Daily reports and coverage of SFIFF51, as it is more commonly known, will be provided here. 

[For additional show times visit www.sffs.org.  For further information and for tickets, visit the same website or the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas at 1881 Post Street (corner of Fillmore Street), the Embarcadero Ticket Outlet at One Embarcadero Center on the Lobby Level (on Battery Street between Clay and Sacramento Streets) or call 925-866-9559 daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.]

For now, The Popcorn Reel takes a capsule-like look at a very small selection of films from the opening weekend (Friday-Sunday), with show times, venue and ticket information (ticket details above in italics.) 

Keep in mind that additional dates and show times exist for each of these films below, beyond the times and dates shown.


"Flow: For Love Of Water" - As the crisis regarding the world's water supply becomes more urgent, Irena Salina directs this important documentary which sounds alarm bells: will water be privatized like the world's oil supply is?   (USA, 2007, 1 hour 33 minutes)

Sat April 26             12:30 pm   Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley
Sun April 27              2:30 pm   Sundance Kabuki Cinema, San Francisco  (panel discussion on the Politics of Water follows)

"Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts" - Scott Hicks examines the legendary and notorious composer in an intimate and revealing look at Mr. Glass behind the scenes and on the scenes.  Philip Glass has composed music forever it seems, and moviegoers will recognize his music scores from a multitude of films, including "The Hours" and "Notes On A Scandal".   (Australia, 2007, 1 hour 55 minutes)

Sat April 26                3:00 pm  Pacific Film Archives
Sat April 26                8:30 pm  Kabuki 

"Stranded: I've Come From A Plane That Crashed In The Mountains" - Gonzalo Arijon's meticulous and unsettling documentary about an extraordinary true story of the survival of several young men whose plane crashed into the Andes mountains in the early 1970's.  The men endured almost three months in and around the mountains before rescue finally arrived.  "Alive", a 1990's Hollywood film, was the fictional version of this all-too real story.  (France, 2007, 2 hours 6 minutes)

Sun April 27              2:30 pm   Kabuki


"Leave Her To Heaven" - This restored print of the classic 1945 film by John M. Stahl is in Technicolor and features a strong performance by Gene Tierney as Laura, a woman too bad for a place called Hell.  The newly-wed turns her new marriage to a novelist played by Cornel Wilde into a living, waking nightmare.  What's a man to do?  (USA, 1945, 1 hour 53 minutes)

Sat April 26                5:45 pm  The Castro Theater, San Francisco

"Go Go Tales"
- Asia Argento (of numerous films including the Festival's opening night film "The Last Mistress") will have audiences talking for sure about her exhibitionism and daredevil ways in this film (directed by Abel Ferrara) about a flagging strip club.  Willem Dafoe stars as the club's owner.  (Italy/France, 2007, 1 hour 45 minutes)

Sat April 26                11:45 pm  Kabuki

Previous: The San Francisco Film Society

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