San Francisco International Film Festival Set for 46th Festival
by Brian Brooks
"The Secret Lives of Dentists" will open the 46th San Francisco International Film Festival April 17th at the Castro Theatre. Directed by Alan Rudolph, the film follows the story of a husband and wife dentist team played by Campbell Scott and Hope Davis. Domestic bliss, however, is interrupted when he believes he witnesses his wife in an intimate moment with another man. It will be followed by the opening night festivities at the Beaux-Arts style Ferry Building, one of the first events to be held in the newly restored structure originally built in 1898.
Continuing through May 1st, at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres, the Pacific Film Archive Theater in Berkeley and CineArts in Palo Alto, SFIFF will host 202 films from 47 countries including three world, two international, eight North American and ten U.S. premieres. The festival's signature "Extreme Cinema" will return for a second year for festival-goers who "enjoy their films dark and visceral." Among the films screening in the section is the U.S. premiere of Hong Kong director Cory Yuen's "So Close," about two sexy sisters who inherit an ad agency from their murdered father and use it to serve their pursuits as assassins. Also screening is the North American premiere of Taiwanese thriller "Double Vision" by Chen Kuo-fu and Danny Pang's "The Eye" about a woman who's restored vision is allowing her to see more then she expected.
Latin American films will also be center stage at SFIFF, with thirty films screening from nine countries. Sundance 2003 feature "Bus 174" by Jose Padilha about a violent coach hijacking in Rio de Janeiro in 2000 and Juan Carlos Martin's "Gabriel Orozco" about a revered contemporary artist are among the planned docs featured. Brazilian Karim Ainouz's look at 1930s black gay outlaw and transvestite Jo Francisco de Santos in "Madame Sata" is on the line-up as well as Sundance 2003 premiere "Comandante" about Cuban leader Fidel Castro as seen through the lens of director Oliver Stone. Cuban editor Nelson Rodriguez will be among the honorees this year. The event will host an onstage interview and clip show with Rodriguez, considered a vital part of Cuban cinema since the '60s and will screen his acclaimed film, "We Are Music" (dir. Rogelio Paris, 1964).
Two-time Academy Award-winner Dustin Hoffman will also be honored by the festival with its annual Peter J. Owens Award. Salma Hayek will present the prize to Hoffman at the Film Society Awards night on April 23rd at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Also receiving an honor at the event is Robert Altman, recipient of the Film Society award for lifetime achievement in directing. The evening will also serve as a gala fundraiser for the San Francisco Film Society. Both Hoffman and Altman will be present for separate onstage interviews and clips of their work during the festival.
Mark Decena's "Dopamine" will close the festival May 1st at the Castro. The film centers on a post-bubble dot.comer (John Livingston) who falls for an artificial "person" he created on his computer. "Dopamine" (named for the chemical emitted by the body when falling in love) won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The closing night party at S.F. nightspot, Bimbo's 365 Club, will follow the screening.
[For more information, please visit: http://www.sffs.org.]