San Francisco to Open 47th Event with "Coffee and Cigarettes"; Includes 175 Film slate
by Brian Brooks
Jim Jarmusch's "ode to bad habits and good conversation," "Coffee and Cigarettes" will open the 47th San Francisco International Film Festival, which runs from April 15-29 in the city as well as at other Bay Area locations. The film, a collection of shorts featuring a diverse cast including Bill Murray, Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, Alfred Molina, Cate Blanchett, Taylor Mead and more, launches the event featuring a program of 175 films from 52 countries, as well as honors for Milos Forman (lifetime achievement in directing) and Chris Cooper, who will receive the Peter J. Owens award which recognizes an actor "whose work exemplifies brilliance, Independence, and integrity. Both Forman and Cooper will appear for onstage interviews at the historic Castro Theatre, the festival's main venue.
"Girl Trouble," by local filmmakers Lexi Leban and Lidia Szajko will have its world premiere at the event, along with two other films. The film follows three troubled teenaged girls trapped in the San Francisco juvenile justice system. Also having their world debuts are is first-time director Gavin Dougan's look at a struggling jazz band in "Brass Tacks," as well as the Japanese horror film "Marronnier," directed by Hideyuki Kobayashi. International premieres include "Someone Else's Shinjuku East," a doc about Taiwanese immigrants living in a seedy Tokyo neighborhood and "We Loved Each Other So Much," a doc about Beirut singer, Fairuz, whose voice is beloved throughout the Arab world and has served to unite this factionalized city. North American premieres include Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Doppelganger," and "Route 181 - Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel."
Eleven films will vie for the $10,000 cash Skyy prize, presented to a first-time feature filmmaker. The competition lineup includes Celina Mruga's "Ana and the Others" from Argentina; Rodney Evans' "Brother to Brother" (U.S.); Arto Koskinen's "The Handcuff King" (Finland); Boris Khlebnikov and Alexei Popogrebsky's "Koktebel" (Russia); Chen Daming's "Manhole" (China); Lee Kang-Sheng's "The Missing" (Taiwan); Andres Waissbluth's "The Newcomers" (Chile); Sabiha Sumar's "Silent Waters" (Pakistan); Andrzej Jakimowski's "Squint Your Eyes" (Poland); Sarah Gavron's "This Little Life" (U.K.); and Steve Mereu's "Three Step Dancing" (Italy).
Toronto 2003 doc "The Corporation" by Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar is among the films screening in the SFIFF nonfiction category. Also slated is Heddy Honigmann's "Dame la Mano," a portrait of a New Jersey nightclub frequented by Cuban exiles. Sundance winner "Super Size Me" by Morgan Spurlock will screen along with Paola di Florio's portrait of slain Civil Rights activist Viola Liuzzo in "Home of the Brave." Sundance favs "Control Room" by Jehane Noujaim and "Chisolm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed" by Shola Lynch are also in the list. Peter Howitt's "Laws of Attraction" will close the festival. The film, starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore as divorce lawyers who find love in the courtroom also features Frances Fisher and Parker Posey.
The 47th festival includes films from more countries than ever before, reflecting a world in the midst of great changes," commented festival executive director Roxanne Messina Captor in a release. "We see this year's filmmakers speaking out about diverse social issues and exploring underground movements in politics, culture and the arts, from coffe-house counterculture to underground jazz to political corruption in Peru and activist grandmothers in Argentina."
In addition to premieres, competition features, and docs, the festival will also spotlight cinema from France as well as from Pacific Asia. SFIFF will take place at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres, the Castro Theatre, the Pacific Film Archive Theater in Berkeley and the Century Cinema 16 Mountain View.
The 47th San Francisco International Film Festival is presented by the San Francisco Film Society, a nonprofit arts and educational organization, which showcases international film and the moving image.
[ For more details, go to the festival web site at:http://www.sffs.org. ]