If 60 is the new 50, and we should all hope that it is, then the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival is hitting its (honorary) half-century mark in style. One of this year’s big Gets is a screening of Citizen Kane — which remains the greatest film ever made, the BFI’s choice of Vertigo not even being Hitchcock’s best film — with a Q&A afterward with William Hearst III, whose grandfather famously tried to bury Orson Welles’ masterpiece.
Other highlights of this first week include Michael O’Shea’s The Transfiguration, about a Black teenager struggling with vampirism, while Score: A Film Music Documentary is exactly what it sounds like: a documentary about why film music sounds like it does. Museum Hours director Jem Cohen’s atmospheric documentary World Without End (No Reported Incidents) spends time in the working-class British resort town of Southend-on-Sea — though it doesn’t spend nearly enough time in the Westcliff Library — accompanied by Cohen’s All-American short Birth of a Nation, about the Predator-in-Chief’s Jan. 19 inauguration and the following day’s protests.
Returning for its second big year is the VR Days program, in which you can experience some of the best in virtual-reality shorts (including the Oscar-nominated Pearl) using equipment more expensive, comfortable, and certainly cooler-looking than Google Cardboard.
60th San Francisco International Film Festival
Opens Thursday at the Castro Theater, the Vogue Theatre, Proxy SF, the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Dolby Cinema, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SFMOMA, the Roxie Theater, the Victoria Theater, and the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission.