Featuring 47 programs (feature, documentary, shorts), the SFFilm Festival 2024 will run from April 24 to April 28, with tickets on sale at sffilm.org starting March 29 for the general public (and March 28th for Members)

For this 67th edition of the SFFilm Festival,  47 programs from 40 countries are to be shown at landmark venues including the Premier Letterman Theater, the Vogue Theater, the Roxie Theater, the Victoria Theatre, and BAMPFA in Berkeley.

We have focused on movies with a French or Francophone touch and here is what we have selected.

Featured movies

Sidonie in Japan – by Elise Girard
Isabelle Huppert, one of the best actors working today, crafts a uniquely soft and vulnerable character in Élise Girard’s low-key charmer. The eponymous Sidonie is a writer, predominantly known for an early novel that charted her grief after the deaths of family members in a car crash. Now grieving another loss, she agrees to a brief tour in Japan to celebrate a new translation of this book, accompanied by soft-spoken interpreter Kenzo (Tsuyoshi Ihara). What unfolds is a moving and gentle portrait of a woman slowly emerging from her protective carapace through probing conversations with Kenzo, a side trip to the famous art island of Naoshima, and the ghostly return of her deceased husband. Eschewing broad strokes of closure, Girard instead grabs at the heart with a beautifully nuanced look at a woman who finds a new lease on life.
Fri. Apr 26 at 3:30 PM Marina Theatre

Banel et Adama (Senegal, France, Mali, Qatar 2023, 87 min) by Ramata-Toulaye Sy
The titular Senegalese couple at the center of this visually ravishing romantic drama faces several challenges — Adama is in line to be chief but doesn’t want the responsibility while Banel insists they not have children, especially in light of the economic hardships brought about by drought. Tired of being relegated to female-designated roles, Banel would rather relocate outside the village where sandstorms have buried several houses but where she and Adama will be removed from the daily life that hems them in. Though deeply in love and prepared to realize his beloved’s wishes, Adama is more pragmatic and concerned about their livelihoods and familial responsibilities. Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s poetic debut, which competed at Cannes, tells a fable-like story imbued with dreamlike imagery and palpable chemistry between the two young lovers at its heart.
Thu, Apr 25 at  3:30 PM Marina theatre
Sat, Apr 27 at 5:00PM at BAMPFA

Ru (Canada) by Charles-Olivier Michaud
Ten-year-old Tinh’s family flees Vietnam after the 1975 fall of Saigon, undertaking an arduous journey to Quebec in Charles Oliver-Michaud’s gripping adaptation of Kim Thúy’s award-winning novel. As Tinh works to overcome the trauma and memories of war and forge an identity in Canada, her educated, formerly wealthy family struggles to adapt to their new circumstances as refugees. Chloé Djandji is riveting as Tinh in a drama that combines a harrowing recreation of the family’s flight from Vietnam, striking cinematography, vivid flashbacks, and a compelling narrative to create a hauntingly beautiful portrayal of healing told from the powerful perspective of a young girl coming to terms with her past.
Sat, Apr 27 at 5:45 pm at Marina Theater

Eureka feat. Chiara Mastroianni
A triptych of stories focused on Indigenous culture in the Americas takes the spotlight in the latest feature from one of international cinema’s most exciting auteurs, Lisandro Alonso. A striking opening sequence revisits and remixes his last film Jauja (Festival 2015), reuniting the director with lead actor Viggo Mortenson, who plays a gunslinger looking for his kidnapped daughter. In an abrupt shift of location, filmmaking style, and gaze, the scenario moves to the Pine Ridge reservation in wintry South Dakota where Native American police officer Alaina searches for another missing young woman. And in the final segment, a shape-shifting bird introduces viewers to a forest-dwelling tribe in the Amazon and a community contending with interpersonal rivalries. Employing different cinematic styles and an increasingly dreamlike narrative, Eureka (which premiered at Cannes) is elusive and pointed in its willingness to abandon traditional storytelling methods in favor of something stranger and more magical.
Thu, Apr 25 at 2:45 pm at Premier Letterman theater

Documentary

Soundtrack for a Coup d’Etat  (France, The Netherlands, 150 min)
Jazz becomes a successful smokescreen for the US and its allies’ efforts as well-meaning musicians’ diplomatic missions offer cover for a conspiracy to stage a coup against the Democratic Republic of the Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. The director Johan Grimonprez will receive the award in the “Persistence of vision award”.

Established in 1997, the Persistence of Vision Award honors the achievement of a filmmaker whose main body of work falls outside the realm of narrative feature filmmaking each year.
thu, Apr 25 6:30 PM BAMPFA

Short  Films

Little Queen Julien Guetta (France 2023, 25 min)
A teenage girl, tired of her overbearing mom’s constant intrusions into her life, finally expresses her rage during a drive to a concert
Part of the “I’m just a Girl” short series
Sunday April 28 at 4:15 pm PT at Marina 2

Yuck!
Loïc Espuche (France 2024, 13 min)
Yuck! Ew! Kissing on the mouth is gross but during a summer camping trip, little Léo secretly wants to try
Part of the Family series
Saturday April 27 at 10 am PT at Marina Theater

For general information visit sffilm.org

 

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