18th SF DocFest, Week One

Nonfiction films about music, sex, and other real-life things.

Lots of documentaries play in San Francisco every year, which is swell, but they tend to be on a surprisingly narrow range of subjects. A documentary about the white/male-dominated 1960s music culture is opening this week, another one is opening next week, yet another one two weeks after that, and two more are scheduled for July. Thanks, Boomers! And thank goodness SF DocFest is back in its 18th year to shake things up. Well, sort of. Adam Dubin’s Murder in the Front Row: The Bay Area Thrash Metal Story looks at a white/male-dominated music subculture in the 1980s rather than the 1960s, so that’s progress.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Sutak’s Dons of Disco leaves the confines of the United States to look at the 1980s ItaloDisco scene, and specifically the decades-later discovery that one of its biggest stars was lip-syncing to someone else’s voice. As non-musical matters go, Sheona McDonald’s Candice honors the life and work of Candida Royalle, often regarded as the godmother of feminist porn. And while it never quite escapes the Boomer gravity well, one of the early highlights is Sandy K. Boone’s J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the Subgenius, a look at the fake religion of which you may already be a member. Remember to wait for the comment, “Hail, ‘Bob!’

Now playing at the Roxie Theater and the Brava Theater.

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