SFIFF: Highway 51 - Page 3

A road map to the 51st SF International Film Festival
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But she falters with the application of narrative-flattening sentiment, predictably reassuring story arcs, and the occasional cheesy slo-mo effect. (Chun)

4 p.m., Kabuki. Also Mon/28, 7:15 p.m., Kabuki; April 30, 9 p.m., Kabuki; May 2, 1:15 p.m., Clay

Walt & El Grupo (Theodore Thomas, USA, 2007) In 1941, Walt Disney and a band of animators, writers, and other artists — which came to be known as El Grupo — journeyed to South America on a goodwill tour. This documentary, codirected by the son of one voyager, gathers wonderful photos, home movies, and a dazzling collection of drawings and cartoon clips to re-create the trip. The trouble is that there's no real drama. The cumulative view is as sharply Eurocentric as Disney's was when he went on to make cartoons such as 1942's Saludos Amigos. (Anderson)
1:15 p.m., Kabuki. Also Mon/28, 6 p.m., Kabuki; April 30, 12:30 p.m., Kabuki

SUN/27

Forbidden Lie$ (Anna Broinowksi, Australia, 2007) Norma Khouri made headlines and toured the talk show and lecture circuit as a crusading heroine when her 2003 international bestseller Forbidden Love highlighted the phenomenon of honor killings in pockets of the Muslim world. Trouble was, her heartrending story turned out to be a fabrication. As filmmaker Anna Broinowski grows increasingly exasperated with her subject's fibbing and evasiveness, this documentary develops from an exposé into a portrait of a serial con artist one would be quite happy to see writing her next book from behind bars. (Harvey)

1:30 p.m., PFA. Also April 30, 12:45 p.m., Kabuki; May 2, 6:30 p.m., Clay; May 4, 8:45 p.m., Kabuki

Picking Up the Pieces (various, 2007) The most intriguing piece in this shorts program about things lost and found is Death Valley Superstar, Michael Yaroshevsky's half-hour documentary focusing on Marc Frechette, who was picked off the street to star in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 Zabriskie Point. Taking his role as a student revolutionary into real life, he subsequently tried robbing a bank, was arrested, and died in prison under suspicious circumstances. Also excellent is Radu Jude's 25-minute Romanian drama Alexandra and John Magary's The Second Line, a narrative revolving around a FEMA worker in post-Katrina New Orleans. (Harvey)

11:45 a.m., Kabuki. Also April 30, noon, Kabuki.

A Stray Girlfriend (Ana Katz, Argentina, 2007) Writer-director-actress Katz maps out post-breakup transience with a wandering handheld camera and oblique dialog. As her titular character explores a rural township on Argentina's coast, each scene teeters between bewilderment and menace. Lynne Ramsay covered similar terrain in her minor masterpiece Morvern Callar (2002), though with a dream-inducing soundtrack and enigmatic ellipticism far beyond Katz's more vanilla approach. (Goldberg)

9:30 p.m., Kabuki. Also May 1, 7:30 p.m., Kabuki; May 4, 6:15 p.m., PFA

MON/28

Cachao: Uno Más (Dikayl Rimmasch, USA, 2008) Actor, would-be bongo player, and Cuban music fanatic Andy Garcia does right by his idol, the late Cuban musical great Israel "Cachao" Lopez, in this passionate tribute sprinkled with SF sights and centered around a Bimbo's 365 Club concert. The show was apparently a hot one — it also showcased Bay Area Latin music scholar John Santos, timbalero Orestes Vilato, and vocalist Lazaro Galarraga — and director Rimmasch does it justice by using the performance as a narrative framework for a history that parallels that of contemporary Cuban music. (Chun)

6:30 p.m., Kabuki.

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