SFIFF: Shots in the dark - Page 4

Short takes on SFIFF

First there are hallucinations, then physical disabilities, then finally the impossible — there's company aboard the station. Debuting feature director Duncan Jones orchestrates atmosphere and intrigue, though despite one major game-changing twist his original story seems a little thin in the long run. Nevertheless, Rockwell commands attention throughout as a character whose exhaustion, disorientation, and eventual panic feel alarmingly vivid. (Harvey) 9 p.m., Castro.

The Reckoning (Pamela Yates, USA/Uganda/Congo/Colombia/Netherlands, 2008) Yates' latest documentary chronicles the long-delayed launch and bumpy first years of the International Criminal Court, a Hague-based body founded to prosecute (primarily) war crimes that member nations were unwilling or unable to do so themselves. Its authority is not yet recognized by several nations — including the Big Three of U.S.A., Russia, and China — while prosecutions of various military or political leaders who ordered crimes against civilians are often hampered by political minefields. Nonetheless, the still-struggling court is a beacon of hope for peace and justice around the globe. Yates lays out its work so far as an engrossing series of detective stories investigating instances of mass murder, rape, plunder, etc. in Uganda, the Congo, Darfur, and Colombia. (Harvey) 5:30 p.m., Sundance Kabuki. Also May 5, 6 p.m., PFA; May 6, 6:15 p.m., Sundance Kabuki.

Still Walking (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2008) It's no joy for Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) to bring his wife and stepson up from Tokyo on an annual visit to his elderly parents. The occasion is to commemorate the passing of an older brother who's been dead for decades but is still held up as the yardstick by which Ryo will always fall short. Mom (Kiki Kirin) is well intentioned enough, if often insensitively blunt-spoken. But retired dad (Yoshio Harada) is an imperious grump who resents Ryo's not following him into medical practice, disapproves of his marrying a widow, spurns her son from that prior union as less than a "real" grandchild, and is generally kind of a dick. This latest from Hirokazu Kore-eda (2004's Nobody Knows, 1998's After Life) is a quiet seriocomedy with lots of discomfiting moments. Yet it's suffused with enough humor, warmth and surprising joy to easily qualify as one of SFIFF's best 2009 picks. (Harvey)

8:45 p.m., Sundance Kabuki. Also May 5, 6:30 p.m., Sundance Kabuki.

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