After a holiday hiatus, the San Francisco Film Society Screen is again primed to fire up its projector. Curated by the same clued-in programmers who scour the planet for the annual S.F. International Film Festival, the SFFS Screen unreels a steady stream of recent small gems overlooked by the bigger art-house distributors. This weeks humanist treat, The Popes Toilet, unfolds in 1988 in the backwater Uruguayan town of Melo. The upcoming visit by John Paul II, promising a one-day influx of well-off Brazilian tourists crossing the border and a once-in-a-lifetime windfall ignites Melos entrepreneurial spirit. The would-be profiteer at the center of the film is Beto, a minor-league smuggler who (in the great movie tradition) is maybe half as smart as he thinks. Alas, his daughter Silvias goal of studying in Montevideo -- and qualifying for lifes better opportunities -- hangs in the balance. When Springsteen sang just a few years earlier, Is a dream a lie if it don't come true/Or is it something worse? he was thinking of the Silvias of the world.
Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2009