61st San Francisco International Film Festival, Week One

Many films from all over our planet, and a special one about what’s beyond.

The San Francisco international film festival previously abbreviated as SFIFF but now referred to as SFFILM — because why not? — is entering its 61st of year of presenting films from near and far. Among Week 1’s narrative highlights is Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert’s animated family film The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. It’s notably “recommended for ages 8 and up (ages 5 and up for French speakers),” which is a deliciously French burn on English-only speakers. Those with a less complementary relationship to the small fry may identify with the title of John Asher’s live-action comedy I Hate Kids, about a child-eschewing author who discovers that he may have one of his own.

But the week’s must-see will probably be difficult to gaze upon outside of the festival sphere, due to its highly combustible composition of copyrighted material: Johann Lurf’s . The supercut to end all supercuts, ★ is a chronological montage of starfields and the night sky in thousands of films made around the world from 1905 to 2017. Though there are occasional voices, there are no people, places, or things on-screen other than stars. Sometimes immersive and sometimes looking like shiny dots on a studio ceiling, ★ is an unmissable journey through a very specific sector of cinema history.

Now playing at the Castro Theater, the Vogue Theatre, the Children’s Creativity Museum the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Dolby Cinema, the YBCA Screening Room, SFMOMA, the Roxie Theater, the Victoria Theater, and the SFFILM FilmHouse.


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