Music Picks For the San Francisco International Film Festival

The San Francisco International Film Festival will fill theaters with the sound of music over the next two weeks. Launched yesterday, the 53rd edition of SFIFF promises both music-related films and live events, including an opening-weekend conversation with T Bone Burnett on Saturday (April 24) at the Kabuki. Burnett's appearance–where the Oscar- and Grammy-winning musician will discuss his soundtrack work and show film clips–is part of the festival's Live & Onstage lineup.

Also on the SFIFF schedule: State of Cinema Address from film-editor extraordinaire Walter Murch on Sunday (April 25) at the Kabuki, and Stephin Merritt's original score to the 1916 silent film 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, which is screening at the Castro on May 4. “Stephin Merritt is such a creative songwriter, unique among his peers in contemporary pop for his appreciation of a wide array of music styles and traditions,” says SFIFF Deputy Director Steven Jenkins, who notes that Merritt is a true cinephile. “His approach to 20,000 Leagues no doubt will be musically rich–seasoned with organ and accordion–and will tap into the film's over-the-top emotion and below-surface humor.”

Some intriguing musical films on the SFIFF docket include Gainsbourg, Je t'Aime… Moi Non Plus, Joann Sfar's biopic about one of France's most creative and scandalous pop artisans, the Austrian/German documentary Pianomania, and a gospel-music history lesson called Rejoice And Shout.

“One of the primary interests of the festival is how film intersects with other forms of communication, and music is definitely one of those forms,” says programmer Sean Uyehara. “Plus, we like rocking out every now and then.”

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