FILM In an early scene from Maureen Gosling and Chris Simon's documentary on the life and musical obsessions of their mutual friend Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records, we see Strachwitz behind the wheel of his car, struggling to explain the common thread that joins his wide-ranging musical tastes, from country blues to Cajun Zydeco to bordertown conjunto.Read more »
FILM As one of the Bay Area's largest film festivals prepares for its opening (that'd be the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, which runs July 24-Aug. 10), this weekend heralds several smaller fests with unique approaches to programming, including the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival at the Roxie, and Oakland's outdoor Brainwash Drive-In/Bike-In/Walk-In Movie Festival. Also in Oakland: the second annual Matatu Film Festival, which takes its name from colorfully decorated mini-buses found in Kenya and other East African countries.Read more »
Frameline 38, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, kicked off last night and runs through June 29; check out our big list o' blurbs right here. Elsewhere, Clint Eastwood directs a musical, Guy Pearce prowls the outback, a very good suburban noir emerges from the Netherlands, a documentary takes on the cost of higher education, and more! Read on for the goods (and bads).
SFIFF "I'm the wrong kind of person to be really big and famous," Elliott Smith admits in Heaven Adores You, Nickolas Rossi's moving portrait of the late indie musician, who went from regional star to superstar after his Oscar nomination for 1997's Good Will Hunting. "It was fun ... for a day," Smith reflects — and anyone who saw Smith's hushed Academy Awards performance, on a night that also included Celine Dion's chest-thumping rendition of "My Heart Will Go On," has likely never forgotten it.Read more »
FILM It's a peculiarity of our moment that the worse things get, the more people seem inclined to think everyone else is going to hell. Their interpretation of the Bible (or Quran, or whatever) is seemingly absolute, yet God seems to stay on their side no matter which way the worldly wind might blow. Righteous judgment of others has practically become the American way, not that we were ever less than an opinionated bunch.Read more »
Jazz singer Jacqui Naylor — Buddhist, Hayes Valley resident, mash-up innovator — premieres her new doc, Lucky Girl: A Portrait of Jacqui Naylor, with a live concert at the Palace of Fine Arts Sat/16 (the DVD will be available in stores Tue/19).
The film, produced by the Bay Area's ARTiDOCs, is about as far from Behind the Music-style tell-all as you could get; Naylor seems blissfully happy with her life, being completely creatively and personally fulfilled (see also: the film's title, named for her 2011 CD). No scandals or dark secrets revealed here; this is a straightforward look at a working artist, briefly touching on her career beginnings (at the suggestion of teachers at American Conservatory Theater, she chose music over acting) and including mini-profiles on the artists she collaborates with, including husband Art Khu.