Our Must-See Films at This Year's San Francisco International Film Festival

Narrative


Computer Chess
May 2 & 4 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema
Andrew Bujalski's black-and-white homage to the early days of personal-computer nerdery, set at a computer chess tournament in 1980, is by turns touching and bizarre.

Il Futuro
May 7 & 8 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema and May 9 at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Alicia Scherson's multilingual drama features Rutger Hauer as the formerly hunky star of Italian Hercules-style movies. The casting is just as appropriate as it sounds.

Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time
April 27, May 2 & 3 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema
No stranger to the old ultraviolence, Oldboy's Choi Min-Sik plays a civil servant who finds himself stumbling into the gangster life of 1980s South Korea.

The Strange Little Cat
May 1,5 & 8 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema
First-time director Ramon Zurcher is a student of Hungarian director Bela Tarr, and it shows in Zurcher's surreal vision of family life in a single Berlin apartment.

Thérèse
April
27 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema, April 29 at New People Cinema
Set in 1920s rural France, late director Claude Miller's final film stars Audrey Tautou as a wealthy but restless married woman who decides to break bad.


Documentaries

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay
May 5 & 6 at New People Cinema
This documentary examines the career of the brilliant magician (and frequent David Mamet contributor) Ricky Jay, as well as the historical conjurers who inspire him.

Google and the World Brain
April 27 at New People Cinema, May 5 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema
Google wants to scan every book ever published, no matter who owns the copyright. What could possibly go wrong? Ben Lewis' documentary considers the possibilities.

Helsinki, Forever
May 4 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema
2013 Novikoff Award winner Peter von Bagh's found-footage essay considers how cinema has regarded Helsinki over the years, and how movies become our collective memory.

In Search of Emak Bakia
May 4 & 6 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema, May 9 at New People Cinema
Though the title of Man Ray's 1926 film Emak Bakia translates as "Leave Me Alone," director Oskar Alegria revisits, deconstructs, and celebrates Ray's insular work.

Leviathan
April 26 & 28 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema, April 29 at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Not the 1989 Alien ripoff, but a stunningly photographed and largely wordless documentary about Massachusetts fisherman and their toils. And oh so many fish heads.

 
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