The San Francisco International Film Festival is here, and tickets to this year's films are going like hotcakes. If you're looking to soak up a little culture this weekend, here are our top 5 picks for films (with tickets still available!). And while you're at it, check out the full festival lineup to plan next week's films before it's too late.
Friday, April 26
Populaire. 6:00 p.m., Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
"French savoir faire and Mad Men-style retro flair combine in this crowd-pleasing tribute to the effortless glamour of ‘50s Hollywood, an audience favorite in France that’s already being touted as this year’s The Artist ... Filling the screen with an eye-dropping parade of sensational vintage outfits and chic hairstyles, as well as incorporating enough retro pop hits to fill the Brill Building, this My Fair Lady for the speed-typing set is further anchored by François’ performance, which turns her plucky ‘50s heroine into a winning “pre-feminist feminist,” all without missing a key."Mad Men, in French? Yes please! Enjoy decoding this French trailer with Italian subtitles.
Saturday, April 27
Thérèse. 3:00 p.m., Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.
"Thérèse is not an exercise in stylish depravity so much as an affecting, simmering psychological melodrama that creates a portrait of a central character no less dark than Hitchcock’s heroines, just differently shaded ... Trapped in a loveless marriage, stifled by societal convention and jealous of her best friend’s passionate affair, Thérèse makes a snap decision to alter the course of her life, with potentially deadly consequences."Audrey Tautou embodies the title role and we're excited to see lots of lovely costumes in this French drama set in the 1920's countryside.
A River Changes Course. 7:00 p.m., Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
"A former child refugee from the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in the 1970s, filmmaker Kalyanee Mam returns to her native land to create a vivid, compassionate and moving picture of the vanishing world of rural Cambodian farmers and fishermen. With a patient and attentive camera, Mam tells the story of three different families struggling to maintain their traditional ways of life as the modern world closes in around them."This documentary looks like a beautiful and insightful look at contemporary Cambodian culture.
Sunday, April 28
Leviathan. 4:30 p.m., Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.
"A thrilling adventure both on the high seas and in documentary storytelling, Leviathan immerses viewers in the waterlogged toil of fishermen off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts, the setting of Melville’s Moby Dick ... Remarkable sound design—a heavy-metal mix of clanging machinery, moaning pipes, indecipherable utterances and the ceaseless swirl of stormy seas—further enhances this existential sojourn into the dead of night and the plight of labor."This unconventional documentary looks gorgeous, disorienting and totally immersive, and it's got critics raving. The Friday showing of this is at rush, so opt for the Sunday matinee (get your tickets soon!).
The Kings of Summer. 9:30 p.m. Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
"High school freshman Joe Toy and his sarcastic, widowed father Frank do nothing but fight, while his lifelong best friend Patrick has had it up to here with his well-meaning but insanely chipper mom and dad. Unwilling to spend one more day with such frustrating parents, the boys and eccentric tag-along Biaggio retreat to the woods for their summer vacation and build a ramshackle cabin as a declaration of independence, oblivious to the panic their disappearance creates."Nick Offerman and Megan Mulally are like peanut butter and jelly, and this quirky coming-of-age comedy looks like a charming escape.