Peter Chan's "Perhaps Love" will open the 49th San Francisco International Film Festival, the San Francisco Film Society, organizers of the event, revealed this week. Chan will attend the event at the historic Castro Theatre along with San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and visiting Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe. Seen through a series of flashbacks and "film-within-a-film numbers," "Perhaps Love" is described by the event as a "lavish and heartfelt romantic triangle set in Shanghai and Beijing," starring Jacky Cheung ("July Rhapsody"), Zhou Xun ("Suzhou River"), Takeshi Kaneshiro ("House of Flying Daggers") and Jee Jin-hee ("If You Were Me"). The film was Hong Kong's official entry for best foreign-language consideration for the 78th Academy Awards.
"We are very excited to welcome Peter Chan back to the International and to open for the first time with a film from Hong Kong," commented Graham Leggat, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society in a statement about the opening film. "'Perhaps Love' is an ambitious and richly satisfying work. Full of artistry in every frame, it blends Asian and Western musical and romantic cinematic influences to create an epic, elegiac tale of love and loss."
Also on tap for this year's SFIFF, North America's oldest film festival, is Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion," which will close the event May 4th. Based on the weekly radio show of the same name, the film takes place on what is imagined as the program's final night broadcast on radio station WLT prior to the demolishing of its home, the historic Fitzgerald Theater. Consistent with Altman's work, the film includes an ensemble cast, including Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Kline, Virginia Madsen, Lindsay Lohan, Maya Rudolph, Garrison Keillor and Tommy Lee Jones.
Werner Herzog and Ed Harris will be among this year's SFIFF honorees. Harris will receive the Peter J. Owens Award for work that "exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity" at the Film Society Awards night April 27th at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. Additionally, Harris will appear at the Castro on April 28th for an onstage interview featuring a career retrospective of film clips followed by a screening of "A Flash of Green" by Victor Nunez, a Harris favorite.
Director Werner Herzog ("Grizzly Man") will receive the Film Society Directing Award during the same event. A compilation of clips from Herzog's career and onstage interview with David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics will take place at the Castro on April 26th, followed by a screening of "Wild Blue Yonder."
Music will also be a central component at this year's festival, with three distinct genres slated to accompany film screenings. London-based VJ group Addictive TV will headline a festival party and club show May 3rd and their films "Optronica" and "The Eye of the Pilot" will screen together May 1st. Local favorite Deerhoof will play during Harry Smith's "Heaven and Earth Magic" April 27th, while the Alloy Orchestra will play to screenings of "Back Stage"(1919), "One Week" (1920), "Dragonflies, the Baby Cries" (2001) and "The Eagle"(1925).