52nd Annual San Francisco International Film Festival Kicks Off This Week; My Top Picks


Film season is here, and the 52nd Annual San Francisco International Film Festival kicks off this Thursday April 23 and runs until May 7 in theaters across the city. Boasting over 150 films from all over the world, there is definitely something for everyone. The festival covers all types of film including world cinema, reborn classics, American indie, documentaries, and of course local talent. Some of the historic theaters participating are the Roxie, Castro Theater, Clay Theater, and the Kabuki. 

A full schedule is listed on the official website, where you can also purchase tickets in advance. The festival will officially launch with a screening of the homegrown film La Mission at the Castro Theater this Thursday at 7:00pm. Following the premiere, there will be an after party celebration at Bruno’s complete with vintage lowriders from the film and Latin beats bumping all night! Where else other than the Mission, where the film was shot?

With so many great movies and so little time, how do you decide which films to watch? If you don’t like making up your own mind, here are my picks for the movies to watch at this year’s festival. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!


An ancient news story becomes an Internet sensation after a teenager transforms a simple translation exercise into a riveting narrative about his own dead parents, imagining his father as a terrorist who places a bomb in his pregnant girlfriend’s handbag. 

Art & Copy

At their best great ad campaigns are magic, transcending grubby mercantilism to open new ways of thinking, seeing, being. Doug Pray (Scratch, Surfwise, Hype!) showcases the creative minds behind the most brilliant and influential campaigns of our time.

The Beast Stalker
Hong Kong 

After a spectacular but fatal car chase, a cop tries to redeem himself by hunting down a devious kidnapper. Tight direction, high energy action and unrelenting suspense make this one of Hong Kong cinema’s most satisfying films in recent years.


Following last year’s opening night sensation The Last Mistress, France’s masterful Catherine Breillat returns to the Festival with this playful, intoxicating and surprisingly personal rumination on Charles Perrault’s 17th-century fairytale.


This portrait of poet and City Lights cofounder Lawrence Ferlinghetti traces a legendary and remarkably influential literary life, from the early Beats and the Howl censorship trial to the infamous anti-war banner hung outside the bookstore, “Dissent Is Not Un-American.” 

Go Go 70’s
South Korea 

The Devils and their soul music become a focus of youth rebellion in the repressive political climate of 1970s Korea. Go Go 70s crackles with energy and reverberates with soul classics as the Devils shout and shake their way to the top.

La Mission

Peter Bratt’s powerful and moving film is an ardent love letter to the vibrancy and daily struggles that take place in the streets of San Francisco’s Mission District. Full of affection for its characters, La Mission is a redemptive story of one man’s struggle to unlearn a lifetime of destructive habits.

Lost World

The Festival’s annual presentation of a classic silent film accompanied by a live and original score by some of today’s most cutting-edge musicians and composers. This year, Dengue Fever performs live and onstage their original soundtrack to adventure-flick classic The Lost World, famed animator Willis O’Brien’s first feature-length foray into stop-motion madness.

Since we’re on the subject, don’t forget to check out my take on local indie film Medicine for Melancholy, which is currently playing at the Roxie Theater.


One Response to “52nd Annual San Francisco International Film Festival Kicks Off This Week; My Top Picks”

  1. 1 San Francisco is Sexy » Blog Archive » Sunday’s Sexy SF Link Love

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