A middle-aged circus performer, living with her husband in a trailer park on the outskirts of Rome, takes in an abandoned toddler and a surrogate family slowly forms in this brilliant neorealist portrait of itinerant but deeply interwoven lives.
Porchlight, the acclaimed nonfictional storytelling series, makes a special SFIFF appearance with film specific stories on the theme, “Behind the Scenes.” Festival guests will participate, regaling us with true, sometimes titillating, often absurd tales about making movies.
A Palestinian family awaits expulsion from their house by Israeli authorities in a crumbling district now being gentrified in the ancient port city of Jaffa. Personal and cinematic memories, and a very uncertain future, weigh heavily over the residents’ everyday rituals.
On location in Lisbon, a lonely French film actress of Portuguese descent embarks on a path of self-discovery through the city, with a few diverting detours, in this fados-laden spell-casting tale about love and the unlikely places you find it.
Beautifully attuned to the cycles of nature and the transcendent power of the written word, this warm portrait of Beat poet Gary Snyder and his cantankerous compadre Jim Harrison intertwines Bay Area bohemia, Zen Buddhism and musings on ecology and spirituality with the complex simplicity of a perfectly crafted stanza.
A young man wrongfully convicted of homicide does all he can to pursue justice in a system in which guilt is presumed and the conviction rate is 95 percent, in this taut documentary exposé of Mexico’s dysfunctional criminal courts.
This extensively researched documentary combines archival footage, rare recordings and interviews to trace the fascinating and rousing 200-year history of gospel music, featuring such giants as Mahalia Jackson, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Mavis Staples.
As unnerving as it is illuminating of the dangers, toils and absurdities of war, Restrepo is an intimate portrait of a platoon posted to Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, one of the U.S. Army’s most dangerous assignments.
Ang Lee’s criminally overlooked 1999 Civil War epic, starring Tobey Maguire as a pistol-packing Missouri bushwhacker, is revitalized in this just-completed director’s cut that restores crucial battle sequences and highlights this year’s Kanbar Award honoree James Schamus’s period-perfect dialogue.
The 2008 Russia-Georgia war forms the crux of this fascinating, highly personal examination of war, holocaust and memory, an extraordinary dual documentary exchange by Russian directors Olga Konskaya and oft-banned former Tarkovsky assistant Andrei Nekrasov.