My Polish Honeymoon directed by Élise Otzenberger (France) 2018 was the opening night film in Palo Alto of the 39th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
When Anna first arrives in Poland, with her husband Adam, she’s totally in love with the country but taking a closer look at her surroundings, her mood changes in the opposite extreme.
The reason for their trip is a 75th celebration of his grandfather’s Jewish village, a rather somber event in a country with a horrific World War II history.
In Prague they’re assailed by the sight of colorful tourist tours of death camps as well as Nazi memorabilia for sale at an outdoor market.
While in the countryside and small rural villages they’re met with indifference, suspicion, and hostility.
This complex film also played at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and will be shown a couple more times during SFJFF 39. It screens 30 July 2019 at the Albany Twin in the East Bay and 4 August 2019 at Smith Rafael in Marin.
Abe directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade (USA) 2019 is a delicious cinematic treat.
The 12-year old protagonist is the only child of a nonobservant Jewish mother and an atheist Palestinian father. He’s caught between the religious and political demands of bickering extended family members.
After training with a Brazilian chef who adopts Jamaican touches in his cuisine, the young boy plans a Thanksgiving family meal combining both of his cultural traditions in an imaginative way.
However matters get a lot worse before getting better.
Abe screens a second time during the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Sunday morning 28 July 2019 at the Albany Twin.
Fiddler: A Miracle Of Miracles directed by Max Lewkowicz (USA) 2019 is the opening night film of San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 39 screening Thursday 18 July 2019 at the Castro Theatre.
The Red Sea Diving Resort directed by Gideon Raff (USA) 2019 is the closing night film at the Castro Theatre Sunday 28 July 2019.
More relevant feature films at this year’s festival are Abe directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade (USA) 2019; My Polish Honeymoon directed by Élise Otzenberger (France) 2018; and Army Of Lovers In The Holy Land directed by Asaf Galay (Israel) 2018.
Paper Flags directed by Nathan Ambrosioni (France) 2018 explores the challenges of a young man released from penitentiary.
How does he navigate in the world without work skills or sufficient emotional preparation? He’s fortunate to have at least one person willing to help. However there are limits to even this initial situation.
While freedom offers opportunity for some, not everyone is able to achieve their full potential. Despite repeated drawbacks, the future isn’t without hope.
Paper Flags was one of the narrative features of the recently completed 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival.
A Faithful Man directed by and staring Louis Garrel (France) 2018 isn’t a typical romantic comedy.
The somewhat dark opening scene undermines familiar expectations. Of course, starting from the lowest point of a romantic situation, circumstances can only improve. The question is how and when.
The journey includes many obstacles and unexpected complications. The unconventional nature of the relationship is disturbing at times but overall adds to the emotional and intellectual resolution of the conclusion.
A Faithful Man reminded me of film classics such as François Truffaut’s Jules And Jim and Eric Rohmer’s My Night At Maud’s.
The film played twice during the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival. For mere info and tickets contact San Francisco Film Institute.
The 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival runs from 10 to 23 April in nine venues: Castro Theatre, Dolby Cinema, Roxie Theater, SFMOMA Phyllis Wattis Theater, Theater at Children’s Creativity Museum, Victoria Theatre, and YBCA Screening Room in San Francisco plus BAMPFA, and Grand Lake Theatre in the East Bay.
Mediterranean features to look out for include: Debt directed by Vuslat Saraçoglu (Turkey) 2018; A Faithful Man directed by Louis Garrel (France) 2018; Loro directed by Paolo Sorrentino (Italy) 2018, and Paper Flags directed by Nathan Ambrosioni (France) 2018.
New Italian Cinema Events returns to the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco 30 November to 2 December 2018.
This year’s lineup of films from Florence include: As Needed directed by Francesco Falaschi (2018) Italy, Easy directed by Andrea Magnani (2017) Italy/Ukraine, Hotel Gagarin directed by Simone Spada (2017) Italy, Manuel directed by Dario Albertini (2017) Italy, and The Last Prosecco directed by Antonio Padovan (2017) Italy.
Xamou directed by Clio Fanouraki (Greece) 2017 reveals some of the hidden charms of Crete.
As manager of a luxury hotel, Jonny is accustomed to a world of privilege. His ex wife and three children rely on him for financial support.
His sudden termination, after the sale of the hotel chain and a reshuffle of executive positions, leaves him emotionally adrift. He still dresses daily in suit and tie, but aside from efforts to find new employment, his waking hours are consumed by online gambling.
However, his life slowly changes from the moment his girlfriend coaxes him outside into the sunlight and his subsequent interaction with local people on the island.
Only two more days remain of the 15th San Francisco Greek Film Festival. While closing night is already sold out, tickets are still available for Friday 19 October 2018.
Djam directed by Tony Gatlif (2017) France was certainly a highlight of the 15th San Francisco Greek Film Festival.
The title is also the name of its main character, who sings during the titles and both sings and dances at various times throughout the film.
What the film lacks in pure cinematic technique is more than made up for through its generous portrayal of human life in difficult times.
Djam is a young, attractive, street-wise woman able to meet most of the challenges during her journey from the Greek island of Lesvos to Istanbul and back. Entrusted to accomplish a mission she’s quite capable of completing.
The film is hopeful and celebratory despite terrible conditions in this dark era.
The festival continues through the end of this week.
For more information and tickets contact San Francisco Greek Film Festival at www.grfilm.com.